Salt in the Wound

I have a keychain that I had made a while back.  It’s rectangular in shape, about an inch long, a fourth of an inch thick, and made of metal.  It has four sides, each covered in type that has been oxidized to give it a more poignant, visible black color.  Each side has the first and last name of someone I love.  All men, all influences on my life.  These peers have forever made an imprint on my character, and their names do the same for this small rod of metal on my keyring.

Sadly, as time often does to friendship, brotherhood, and love, these names have found themselves being figuratively scratched out by the individuals themselves.  One by one, various souls have detached themselves and left. One never to return, others glance backwards and I feel the wisp of  their presence; a past scent bringing back a flood of memories.  Original Chapstick, Curve deodorant, Trident orange gum.  I loved each of these brothers with a deep part of myself.  It has been agonizing to lose them.

Time congeals all wounds, and these continue to sting on occasion.  The salt off a wave breaking making its way into a wound.  An ever present reminder of who I have lost, and loved.  Other times, like today, someone you are told by society loves unconditionally, who holds the respectable title of nurturer, takes a box of course sea salt and deliberately rubs it in the wound.

“You have this stupid keychain with their names on it!  Don’t you wonder why they left, why you have no friends?!”

My breath caught as my eyes immediately began to water.  The same accusation has been put to me before.  In the dark aftermaths of a falling out, I would ask myself the same questions.  “What worth do I have?  Why do I keep losing everyone I love?  Why can’t I just be normal, and have friends that love me too?”  To have these same dark thoughts thrown back into play by the nurturer was a sucker punch to my chest.

I am responsible for myself.  I am selfish out of necessity.  People hurt people; its an eternal round, and a tiresome game.  So we move on, forward, and up.  Leaving behind detractors as we sail our boats against the current, being constantly borne back.  Waves threaten to capsize us, the brine stings our wounds, but we always sail on.