She slays giants.
She kicks ass-
And most of the time, she’s fine.
She’s fine because she’s fast; she’s on top of the game- she preempts the strikes and uses her ability to think ahead to deflect blows.
But, she’s not super human.
Sometimes, the attacks come on too fast. The giants band together and attack at once. One particular giant- from time to time- may be skilled at the surprise attack, and take her off guard.
And that’s why she has a partner.
In these moments, she would expect her partner to step in: to notice the fight because he was paying attention; to initiate stepping into the fight to provide backup, to provide a moment of rest, to work along side to vanquish the enemies; to show that he’s mentally and physically engaged in her life, in the life they share.
And to prove that he loves her; that he is powerful in action; that he is kind and conscientious about her abilities and limits (that he applies the knowledge of her he so treasures); and that he will not leave her alone.
But he doesn’t show.
She calls out, but he must not be able to hear-
Is he not even looking, not even keeping track of the fight?
She continues to fight-
But is so tired now.
She takes blow after blow; endures injury after injury.
She doesn’t want to forsake the fight.
Surely, he is close-
Surely, he is coming closer-
He’ll see the fight. He’ll hear the engagement- her fierce screams in the face of danger as she continues to battle the enemy.
He’ll come running-
He’ll come brandishing his sword-
He’ll provide support; he’ll kick those giants’ asses!
Then they’ll have a moment together- after the battle is won:
Share a triumphant high-five,
And then ravish each other with kisses,
And dissolve in a sweaty heap of love-making bliss.
She tells herself not to give up.
She fills her thoughts with positive images-
(The blood pours down her leg from a gash in her thigh.)
She sees his supportive entrance, imagines her relief-
(She can barely see, the sweat pours down from her scalp and stings her eyes.)
She envisions the grin of comradery they’ll share-
(She cannot breath; her lungs can barely fill with enough oxygen to continue.)
She knows the kiss they share will be delicious-
(She tastes salt and metal as she licks her dry, cracked lips.)
She believes there is light.
She holds onto that thought,
And from somewhere, finds the strength to fight harder, to last longer.
He told her,
“I love you.
I’ll do anything for you.
We are in this together.”
She is still fighting, and trying to believe; but can no longer see what she fights. It’s not just the sweat- there are tears now. And her screaming isn’t so much fierce as it is piercing-
He has not come.
And if she stays in this fight alone, she will die.
The black darkness of hopelessness starts to creep into her vision, but she’s too stubborn to give into it-
She continues to fight-
But retreats at the same time.
She continues to back up, to withdraw.
She is amazed at her ability to retreat, to disengage from the battle, to give up; but she understands the consequences if she does not.
Step by step, she withdraws to safety.
She falls to her knees, wincing in pain and weeping from the loneliness in her heart.
He did not come.
And she is alone in her pain, in her defeat.
After a time, she collects herself, stands up and trudges to the campsite. She finds him there by the fire.
She has a flash of emotion- disgust that he has not held up his end of the bargain. She heads to the blanket for peace, to rest.
She is amazed that he has not noticed her approach-
When he turns around, he’ll see her state. He’ll get up and run to her; pick her up gently; wash and dress her wounds; give her soft kisses; and apologize for not being there to join the fight.
He doesn’t turn to look in her direction;
But he does address her approach,
“Where have you been? And where’s the meal?”
He turns and looks at her with no reaction to her broken state, “Do you need help or something?”
In that moment, the pain, the loneliness stops her heart. A piece of her dies, as surely as if the enemies she was battling struck a deathblow. She lets the darkness take her.