I wouldn’t be here, fumbling my way through the dark, over-crowded rooms and the sickly, slimy basements searching for the door with calloused fingers; I wouldn’t be in this cave, hiding and hoping for others to miss what I’d done; I wouldn’t drag, head-to-floor slowly, scathingly, begrudgingly through this supposed gateway to Paradise; I wouldn’t be trapped among the dead bodies, barely up-right; I wouldn’t be filling my cup at every empty oasis which offers even the slightest mirage of saturation. If not for you I wouldn’t be stuck staring into a blank wall that surely must bear your image; I wouldn’t look around every corner with my heart all a-flutter thinking to see you waiting there; I wouldn’t rejoice at the melting snow, convinced it promises your return; I wouldn’t imagine your heavy hand upon my shoulder when I need you most; I wouldn’t hold your relics close while all others are gone nor dance with your shadow. I’d steer clear of the sadists and their Opiate Swells and their cold fingers and their dirty hair; I wouldn’t nearer myself to those undeservings who flee from my good graces, would not identify with their self-loathing, their regression, their silence. And if not for you I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

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