Some may wonder now how you didn’t notice the change but truth be told we’d ceased to really see each other years ago. Words also were grudgingly exchanged. On my part, my every utterance was misinterpreted – made cruel in your ears. I could say “You look lovely today” and you’d choose to hear “You usually look ugly”. And it seemed that was all the excuse you needed to let the Beast rise within you – to unleash Hell on a daily basis.

So it was that I learned to stay silent. Your verbal assaults still came (it transpired that you needed no excuse after all!) but I’d just absorb the full force of your vitriol without flinching, without retaliation, without dodging.

In a way I still needed your words but perhaps not as you may think. Each insult thrown carried such dark energy and energy can never be destroyed – merely transformed from one form to another. Within me that energy was converted and used as a catalyst for my metamorphosis.

With each harsh word, a feather would sprout on my body and over time I grew lighter even though you tried to weigh me down with your words. It took many months for me to fully find my new form and many more till I’d gain the confidence to use these white wings to soar. At first I’d just hover a metre or two above you when your back was turned – afraid of the stone you might cast my way should you actually look at me for once and truly see what I’d become.

Yet such a backwards glance never came. Perhaps you were so absorbed with hatred for both yourself and others that you couldn’t see anything but the blackness. It seemed your words were no longer targeted at me specifically but just yelled out to the world in general – cursing all who didn’t see the world through the same dark lenses that you did.

For a moment I wondered if I was strong enough to lift you up with me when I took to the air and liberate you from all that dragged you down. By this point though I had to accept that what strength remained was needed just to take flight myself – for me to finally soar.

And soar I did! I rose up to the clouds and as I flew higher fury, sadness and regrets grew smaller and smaller until finally they (and you) disappeared from view entirely. Only memories remained but memory alone wasn’t enough to drag me down.

Nowadays I travel with a different crowd – a flock of like-minded beings who choose to see the world in many vivid colours rather than solely the black and to embrace all the goodness. We share many of the same scars but together find comfort to carry us through even the darkest of nights.

Despite everything I cannot bring myself to hate you or wish you ill. My only wish for you is that one day you have your own metamorphosis and find the strength to smile again. But please, do not sprout wings and seek to follow me. I fear we brought out the worst in each other and what’s more, I cannot guarantee that my new flock would embrace you should you come close.

Instead of feathers I wish you would grow scales and gills then find your freedom in the ocean amongst the many wonders beneath the waves. Who knows? Perhaps your transformation has already begun.

Copyright © 2015 Philip Craddock. All rights reserved.

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