There's a mask I wear. One I've learned to don with confidence. It works for the role I assume. It projects strength, contentment, happiness, responsibility, capability. Behind the mask my character is different. I greet my days with emptiness. No longer able to travel my roads in blissful ignorance. I start my journeys with strength and determination, only to have the ease of my drive challenged by speed bumps of you. Memories of the strength I felt. The sheer power and bliss. The joy I had in being the best me I had ever been...all because you were in my corner. Ignorance was bliss, before I knew how soaring in love's mighty light could feel. Before the wind was taken out of my sail I basked in the light. I emerged from my cocoon, a glorious butterfly with colors I didn't know I could have. You knelt on the outside, encouraging my transformation. My heart was too heavy to make my appearance. You smiled, touched my face and told me my heart would be safe in your hands. There was a gentle ease in the way you took it. Like it was meant to be held by you. I felt lighter. Stronger. I squeezed out of my cocoon, slowly opening the wings I had never stretched. I remember your smile, your love that encouraged me. I gasped at the beauty and power of my wings. The sun's rays dried and strengthened them. You gently embraced me, lifting me to soak up the sun. You gazed upon me with awe and joy as I gained my strength. You shared in the beautiful emergence. Sparkling bits of life's magic rained on us, tickling our skin as they brightened our world. I stretched my wings, the wind lifting me as I glistened in love's rays. I learned to soar, inhaling deep breaths of bliss...surprised by its ever-changing feel. Cool and crisp one moment. Warm with teases of heat the next. I basked in the glory that only shined, in its blinding entirety, when shared with you. I turned to go back, to sail to your open arms. To feel the magic only you and I know. I head back to the cliff from which I'd courageously soared, searching for you with your smile and strength. Your eyes sparkling with me in their reflection. My heart in your hands. I soar to our spot, not seeing you there. I smile to myself, thinking you're hiding. I know how you play and love teasing me. Touching back down on earth I search for you. I'll find your secret place and bask in the joy. I look down the path, shocked by what I see. The heart I trusted in your gentle, capable hands was on the rock...shattered in pieces. Shining like bits of ruby next to your footprints in the sand. I follow the path, a note fluttering in the breeze...held by a piece of my heart...like a ruby paperweight shining in the sun. Picking it up, I try to focus through my fear and tears. Your familiar handwriting yields only a few words: "The only truth I have ever known is in your arms. I'm sorry." I run to gather rubies, burning hot from the sun. They scorch my hands as I try to gather them. In my haste to gather my abandoned heart I stumble, landing hard, feeling sand stuck to the tears on my face. Looking to discover what I tripped on I see the tip of my wing, tattered and torn, color faded. I try to get up, to stand and move on, only to discover that these new wings are heavy and cumbersome. I think back to my life, before I had wings. Tucked in my safe cocoon with no need to stretch or feel the light. Now that I've stretched and felt the magic of life, that only showered me when you were by my side, I don't know what to do with these wings. There is no more cocoon, no blissful ignorance. I'll have to be strong, and carry these wings. I'll keep them in hope that some day I will fly again. Now that I've soared and basked in the joy I cannot turn back. No more safe cocoon. I'll forever seek magic. The drug for my soul. The small taste I had only teased my senses. It's hard to believe that I will fly again. Nothing will be as beautiful as that first leap, but I'll tuck in my wings...keep them safe for the future and look for the day I have the strength to soar again.