Insecurity lives two doors down from Love - wants to adopt a pet, so she won’t feel so lonely - so she can feel someone’s loyal devotion. Insecurity does not like open spaces; is good at taking up less space - diminishes herself to make others more comfortable. Insecurity spends too many nights dressed to expectation - can’t meet her own eyes in the mirror. Spends too much time in front of it, anyway. She is always becoming something other. Molding herself to fit into the moment - into the desires of the present. Into the waiting hands of entitlement. She is not the kind of girl who walks home alone after the party. She does not believe in her own strength in the face of darkness - in the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

She is slow to smile - often awkward. Covers her mouth when she laughs hard. Holds her breath more than is healthy. Doesn't believe she is lovely. She needs to compete - needs to win - will still not feel worthy of the prize. She will still flinch at the flicker of their eyes as she walks by - never believing her stance is inspiring. Insecurity is not the type to ask for what she wants - only questions the sound of her own voice - echoing, reflective. She is all swagger and high heels and hip sway - only stumbles when Love is near. Insecurity grapples with pale fear, and her own sharp teeth.

Love wants to rest quietly in bed - still hears Insecurity’s heels clicking, a slow stroll down a nightmarish hallway. Love prays for the white noise camouflage of the heater - for endless compassion, and patience. For a generous slice of kindness, and clear communication - but Insecurity wields a sharp knife, hands shaking; waiting to slide it between Love’s soft ribs -

still, Love is not a victim. Love is no sleeping fool. Love is a five-alarm house fire, flashing a winning smile. All sirens ringing, blazing the way with no fire escapes - razing the walls to lick at her insides, resolved to burn them both down to the ground… only Love will rise, whole - from all of this ash.

m(V)k