Bitterness


Bitterness is one of those solid, reliable feelings. Being able to set my jaw and turn my face away (just a fraction) is a powerful and dependable reaction. So subtle you’d be a fool to call me out on it, but enough of a motion that I can almost see the concrete setting up around my heart. Sped up like a time-lapse video. Here we have the initial insult, the wrongdoing that grants me the license to resent, and now we have the barrier – a great retaining wall erected between us.

May I present a gift to me: Justified Anger. Usually I'm complicit in our conflict so this purity is rare and, thus quite satisfying. Savory, I think, as I sink my teeth into it. Bitterness is sturdy and chunky. Something I can really hang on to and something I could enjoy. 

Your swift recognition that hurt has been inflicted, quickly followed by your sincere apology, is disappointing. It’s like drawing a hot bath and being interrupted just as I’ve put my toe into the welcoming water. Sure, I could back out now and remain dry, but it’s right there, steamy and luxurious. Inviting me to sink in and soak up its hot relief – the sensation of righteous indignation saturating my skin. My pores have already opened, my lips already pursed (oh so slightly). When you are genuinely contrite, I am frustrated. It can be such a let down when you say you’re sorry so soon.

Yes, I know it’s what I want. Of course it keeps us close and that is where I need to be. But not right now, not when I want to guard my heart from you, to constrict my love, to reject your touch and hurt you like you’ve hurt me. I am not ready to forgive you as eagerly as I want you to forgive me.

If I can, if I will, soften my eyes and look at you, if I will turn my shoulder (even a smidge) toward you, if I will lift the smallest of my fingers to reach out to you, then the satisfaction of bitterness will evaporate into the wonder of our embrace.

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