Shallow Dance

by Matty Sullivan

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All My Tender Places

Well, I’m awake. I’m already seventeen minutes behind schedule, because my alarm didn’t go off. Or maybe it did and I didn’t hear it. I hope that’s not it, for the damn thing was sitting right next to my face. If I didn’t hear it, I’m going deaf.

My head was hurting all day yesterday. It wasn’t a terribly large headache, just enough to register as pain and therefore keep me in a constant state of agitation. I feel better this morning, for which I am grateful. Unfortunately, I’m still agitated. Please don’t ask me why. Questions only lead to knowledge, and some things you’re better off not knowing.

What a cop-out. That’s probably not true, and anyone who says it is can’t be trusted. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorance. However, that doesn’t keep me from wishing I didn’t have to answer questions about how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking. How ironic is that? A writer not wanting to talk about himself, for fear it will lead to the truth.

It's understandable. Lies have complications, but so does the truth. I’m sure there’s something that makes one better than the other, but this morning I can’t remember what it is or which one comes out on top. It would be nice if I were able to make something true just by saying it, and then I wouldn’t have to worry so much. Actually, I guess that means I would have to worry about every single thing I said! How awful! I’d be afraid to speak!

Actually, I already am. Remember?

If I didn’t know any better, I would think I had just made some kind of a point. But trust me, I didn’t.

The question on my mind is this: have I failed in some way? And if so, when? And how? These are the real questions, and they lurk in the shadows of everything else asked of me. All it takes is an accidental turn down the wrong alley and before I know it, they’re all over me like a pack of wild dogs. The worst thing is I have no defense against them. They know all my tender places, and they care not for my flailing attempts at deflection. I am in sudden terror! My heart beats harder, my blood flows faster, and I become more appetizing to them. They smell dinner coming.