House of Cards

His confidence is a house of cards. Sometimes it is beautiful and intricate, sometimes it is nothing more than a heap in the dirt. There are nights when he’s all hearts and diamonds – he wants nothing more than to give me everything in the world. Other times, he’s all clubs and spades, warning me to keep my distance if I want to stay safe. He acts like he’s a bomb, and I let him think that. It would be too hard to tell him that his heaviest thoughts rest on cardstock scaffoldings. 

He sways in the winds of everyday conversation, and usually he stays upright. He’s learned over time to double up in the places where he’s most vulnerable. He’s comfortable in the cold because he keeps spare cards left over to burn. He’s scared of building higher with them instead. I can’t say that I blame him. But what happens when his tiny house of cards proves too small for the two of us to grow together?

I’m not one to push his boundaries. I do my best to build alongside him, anchoring corners and sealing edges with love and compassion, compliments and company. I will not run away. Each time a storm sweeps through and knocks all his hard work to the ground, and my hard work too, I will stay close. I’ll wait it out and when the clouds pass, I’ll begin to pick up the pieces. I’ll help him lay a new foundation. I’ll carry the walls back in, help him lift up the ceiling and cut out the windows. I’ll do my best to weatherproof the siding and stabilize the doorways. I’ll use my bare hands to dig him the safety of a cellar for the next storm that comes along.  Perhaps someday, if he feels safe enough, his house of cards will not fall.

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