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My Secret

The burden I carry, locked away

No one knows, but me. It is my secret, the little iron box resting in the back of my brain. It is equal parts fear and salvation, laden with unspoken desires and unfulfilled hopes, each its own personification of Pandora, trapped in her own vessel.

They are my colleague, sitting at her desk, engrossed in minutia. They are the blond girl with the intriguing snake tattoo, bringing my tea. They are the checker at my market, blushing at my joke. They are the older woman walking past, returning my smile and stare with equal measure. They are not her. Or her or her or her, but oh yes, her.

I have carried this coffer with me for many years now, hidden from view. I keep the key always with me, but open it only in solitude. It is a rite I keep for the darkness, shunning the revealing light of day. I tell myself I am wise in this, that it is for the best, to be as I appear to be, the truth of me obscured. And I tell myself I am lying, lacking courage, fearing the consequence of letting all the world know the true nature of my self. The two of me wrestle to a draw at each contest, postponing the decision for another day when I am stronger.

The sun has gone now and quiet envelopes my bed. I bring the box out from my mind and rest it on my belly, lifting the lid. The contents glow a golden radiance, bathing my body. I dip in a wet finger and gently stir the phantoms, feeling them warm and liven. From within the tumult one embraces me in its talons and I draw it out. As my hand pulls back it follows, growing in size, becoming whole and coherent again.

It is her lean, muscular body moving slowly through the locker room, giving out unabashed glances of appreciation. It is a pink haired pixie, body tattooed and hairless, smooth and vibrant as an Imperial kimono. It is a handsome widow, elegant and self-assured, sleeping lonely in her bed. It is an earth mother with wide hips, offering a redolent forest to explore. It is a dark night goddess who feasts upon souls. It is her or her or her.

She is with me now, the one who has chosen me. She presses against my body, her breasts to my breasts. I smell her scent and feel her breath on my skin. Our lips are joined, our minds merging into one memory, our hands beginning the long slow caresses. Fingers tease our flesh, dancing in and drawing back, liquefying our body. Sounds erupt, voices muffled and incoherent. Soon the deep trembling begins and the rational dissolves into uninhibited release, exploding bolts of pure white light in our unseeing eyes.

Then silence falls and breathing returns and she slips away into the box again. My shaking hand lowers the lid and I lift the box away, back to its hidden place, and sleep, fearless of my dreams for another night.

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