The Coward


I’m sorry, darling, but I have to write this. It is therapeutic. Don’t worry, I won’t tell the truth, not all of it. But I want some stranger to see this and know what a disgusting creature I am. It will soothe my soul, which is churning in agony at what it sees in the mirror. It cannot stand its cowardice for eternity. The prospect of immortality, that others crave so joyfully, is frightening me.

I masquerade as a man, when I am but a vermin: a rat who grabs his tail and runs to his hole at the slightest hint of danger. No wonder one of my closest friends called me a vermin, if he ever was a friend to me. I have no friends, you see, and that is not because there is some fundamental incompatibility between me and other humans, it is simply because I can never look past my own skin, and ways to save it.

I make merry when the tide is with me, and break like a twig… oh no, not break, for that would imply I was standing against something. Oh no, I flow like a sheet of paper, without any concept of integrity or self-worth, the way the wind blows. I worry myself sick over whether I would stand and face a grave situation or retire to my hole, to no avail, for I always think of it while I am running towards the hole.

Darling, don’t trust me, don’t expect me to save you. I need saving. I am the one who needs it the most. I cannot love without thinking of myself, my intentions to do otherwise being a mere veil to shadow my rotting conscience hidden beneath.

It is not the troubles that bother me, it is that they bother me that bothers me. I have seen enough to know that all of them are either passing or merely ghosts created out of anticipation, but I cannot look even a trifle in the face and smile: I am tender as a burn.

When I walk into a room, I bring with myself a stench of cowardice. It is precisely the reason people are so comfortable around me: they can scare my soul out of me with a mere stare when needed. I am a coward, a coward of such monstrous proportions that I cannot dare to keep on writing this: it threatens me by way of too much exposure.

I am afraid of waking in the morning and going out of my room. I cannot keep up this pretence of nonchalance and indifference for too long. I fear that I will break down and when I do break down, I would be deserted. I fear that I might die alone, and not be the last one to die either. Life scares me every moment. I die every moment. And the irony is that I am afraid to die as well.

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