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lines in the sand

I find myself on this side of the line, terrified. There is a great chasm below. It's all I can do to hold on with fingertips and toes, to keep from falling. Because every time I fall, there is a rock-hard, bone-crushing, heart-bruising landing filled with an agony of tears.

I don't want to feel this. It's too soon, I'm not ready for it. But I feel it anyway, and try desperately to keep it concealed, to keep it hidden, to let no bit of it leak through into my thoughts and actions.

But it leaks into my dreams, filling them with mundane images of a life lived on this side of the line, replays of dreams that haunted me years ago. The dreams are stronger now, filled with more knowledge of their main characters, infused with these slow-building feelings that I refuse to acknowledge as of yet. They overwhelm my sleeping mind and I wake with words I will not, can not, say on my lips.

Every day makes it harder. Every smile, every hug, every shared moment of silent humor.

It's such a different feeling; it's not the headlong rush, the leap into the fire, the conflagration that changes everything in an instant. It's a fire built slowly, carefully, from a bit of tinder, fed twig by twig, until the hearth is warm and winter's chill is held at bay.

It scares me more than the other.