Where I Cannot Hurt and I Cannot Bleed.
By Carmen Torres
Where am I happy?
Within the bittersweet confines of a lovely bookstore,
kissed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the written word on paper.
Within my fingertips, as they caress the cool spines of awaiting stories to be read.
Within the pages, between the lines, inside a different mind.
Outside of my own, breathing the foreign air, unstained and unaffected by my presence.
Outside of that world, I can exert no control over the stories’ fate,
I cannot hurt and I cannot bleed.
No need to be perfect, no need to fret.
Nothing makes sense.
Why should I want it to when it only brings stress?
I am aware of it being odd, finding perfection in a confusing, complex world.
Yet, I am a confused and complex person,
therefore, nothing can be so simple to define, it can’t be so easy.
All I know at that moment is that all of a sudden, the chaos outside appears less chaotic. As my fingertips reach for a promising adventure, the anticipation for the feeling of losing myself,
if only for a few inconsequential moments,
and having to piece myself together again, excites me to no end.
So much that I do not want the story to end.
Outside of the story, my life is modest, a far cry from perfect.
So, why do I seek perfection within imperfect worlds?
I often tell others, once they inquire as to why I torture myself with such stories, “The tragedies within the stories I read, make me feel better about my own,” I say.
Those tragedies begin to shrink, as past tragedies sometimes do,
so small that I can feel them within my palm and I am so content in that moment,
I truly am, as I press my once sealed lips against them and blow them away, as if wishing upon a dandelion, expelling my sadness to duel against the wind.
All of those once monumental tragedies turn into the smallest of things, into florets.
Too small to be of consequence, much like my imperfections, after losing myself in story.
What brings me happiness?
That is a difficult question to answer for happiness
is a most difficult thing to find. In order to be perfectly content somewhere,
I need to find it within myself.
For now the best I can say is, I feel less imperfect within another world.
The foreshadowing of a story having a good ending is hope.
My story begins with it, it is a catalyst.
What makes me perfectly content is one promising whisper of hope,
where I believe that one day,
I won’t need to find it,
I will no longer need to search,
I will just be.