What You Don't See

She breathes, inhales dirty air.
Exhales worries and anger and paranoia and a puff of hope out of those tired lungs, worn from chain-smoking just one too many cigarettes.
She writes down the names of everyone who loves her; she makes sure she puts her own at the top.
She uses them like rafts and paddles to row through a crashing, chaotic sea that could swallow her whole in a second, a life full of potential crushed to a mere whisper of "Heaven needed another angel" under the churning, hungry waves. She's learned how to swim.
"Such a change!" people she'd considered friends long ago say to her in busy supermarkets, with carts full of judgement and prejudice nestled in between cartons of eggs and gallons of milk parked at their sides.
She'll smile politely, answer all the questions 
yes, I got over it.
The last one will be through grimaced teeth, an acid saturated lie that stung her tongue when she spoke the words because truthfully, it's so hard to get over something when it seems that people keep reminding you of the past.
They will nod, giving her an awkwardly insincere pat on the back because they felt obligated to ask the obvious questions, as if a mere "are you ok?" could make up for months of "loosing touch" and "being so busy!" 
But every day, she gets a little better, her smile under a white hot sun more and more genuine, a body and mind healing over time because she's learned that the only one who can truly fix a person is themselves.
So she'll laugh a laugh like the tinkling of harmonious bells, and she'll take life a single second at a time, because she is not her failures, she never was.
She is who I am, not who I used to be.
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