121 : fire meet gasoline

He looked at me like I was a painting.
He stood back and admired me with greedy, pale eyes.
Maybe 'admired' is wrong. They saw my shades of colour,my shadows and highlights - but more than that, they saw money. I was something to be coveted, to be owned. I was a possession to be shown off as a testament to his own wealth. And as with any painting, he kept his hands in his pockets. I ached for his touch, to feel warm skin. There are only so many times you can hear words like “breath-taking” and “beautiful” whilst being achingly, numbingly cold.

He looked at me like I was a wild thing.
I was something to be conquered, to be emulated. I was the fuck-you to his parents. I was the storm that he wanted to tell everybody that he survived. I was the wilderness, I was an experiment. I was one thousand footsteps in the wrong direction. I was one hundred thousand lessons that he wanted to learn. But when I took his face in my hands, and told him that not everybody survives a storm (or an experiment, a forest fire, a ship wreck) he ran. I was destined to be the girl that broke him, rather than the key to his creation.

He looked at me like I was a mountain summit.
He was calculating. Each move was planned. He stabbed crampons into my heart with each tender touch. He is the one that I still can’t think about without feeling Arctic winds crawl up my spine. He had forgotten how many people have died trying to scale Everest. He had forgotten that better men have tried. He had forgotten that ice burns just as well as fire.

He looked at me like I was a statue.
The low lighting carved my features from marble. My arms were long, gracefully arched above my head. 
But he told me that they were blocking the light. He snapped them off above the elbow and stood back to admire his handiwork. He called destruction “art.”
He looked at me like I was smoke.
He reached for me, again and again – but there was nobody there.

You looked at me like I was a human.
You knew that I wasn’t perfect, that I was a damn long way from it, that I had no intention of ever coming close. You knew that I had something monstrous inside of me. And you didn’t care. You were a little monstrous yourself. So you smiled when I made you happy. We screamed and threw things when we were mad. We missed each other like phantom limbs. We gave each other every single fucking piece of humanity that we had left. Because we weren’t artwork. We weren’t celestial. We weren’t awe-inspiring, or beautiful, or made of stardust and poetry. We were human. Unashamedly, untouchably human.