The phrases we say mean more than we think. Not necessarily a short story, more a personal reflection.

Don't tell me I'm pretty; tell me the way I move turns the air to water, the night to velvet. Don't tell me I'm smart; tell me all the ways I've made you believe in something more than facts and figures. Don't tell me I'm talented; tell me the words I've spoken that have kissed your soul and lifted your eyes to a heaven that we're not even sure exists. 

Don't just hug me; hold me like a baby bird, a collection of wearily sewn bones that will shatter on the untamed earth if you ever let me go. Don't just kiss me; mild your lips to mine, carving monuments in our minds to praise the simple miracle that is this moment, this heartbeat, this breath we share. 

Don't tell me you love me. I'm afraid those words will burn through my skin and let new flesh grow. I'm not ready for those new cells, for I have yet to break free of the ones I've locked myself into. 

Don't tell me you don't love me. I'm not sure my sutures could handle the strain those few syllables will press on the still-bruised slices running up and down my timid heart. 

Don't tell me you need me; tell me you want to be with me, your hand in mine, our hearts pumping oxygen to keep us alive. Tell me I am good, because perfection is impossible. Tell me I am good, because I try desperately to be so. Tell me I am good, tell me I am good, tell me I am good enough for most days I doubt. 

Tell me I can trust you until the end, and I promise that all my sharp maple angles will melt into the soft curves of oak, and I will spread my thin leafy veins toward the warmth of a sun that burns away our cells to allow new flesh to grow. 

Submitted: February 19, 2014

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