soft-spoken

they say she’s soft.

she’s soft indeed – treading lightly on marble tiles, the smooth pitter-patter of feet barely audible, afraid to disturb the silence that curls like tendrils around her small toes. afraid to break the wall she worked so hard to build, fear is a knot in her stomach and her eyes dart furtively to watch for any signs of crumbling. everything she touches with the gentleness of a feather, soft murmurs under the breath and blinking away wetness with quiet strength. as if she exerts more pressure, a part of her would break, give way to cracks that turn to collapsing structures and peeling skin. she doesn’t want to wear her heart on the sleeve, bear herself raw, so she draws the curtains close, anticipates the warmth of a blanket that tucks the pieces together. a wrong move and things will start to fall apart, like the dry, cracked paint of ceilings that eventually fall like tears of a teenage girl, occasional but eventual.

it’s like the last note of a musical piece, the grand dramatic finale fading to nothingness; it settles into the quiet atmosphere of the watching audience holding their breaths, and tension hangs high yet dissipates into the closing curtains. they don’t clap, because once the next performer arrives they don’t remember her presence anymore. she comes as softly as she goes but leaves little traces of herself in places, people, to say – i was here, i exist, my existence is valid. she loves softly as others love hard – watching from a distance, unsaid promises, carefully walking the line but never crossing it. she doesn’t say a word, but her heart beats steadily, like the faint ticking of a pocket watch in the background. it is like a stereotypical date in the museum, or the aquarium – except she hasn’t been to any, and dreams of it in pastel palettes after sheets hug her to sleep.

they say life hardens you, but she is soft as ever – and finds strength in it.

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