I cannot look but for several moments, as his expression burns me like solar heat. I step back into the crowd, and allow the conversation to fill my head and swirl around my ears. I let the words echo throughout my body and I feel each syllable as they rattle my joints. I turn around. I put his dark hair and light eyes out of my mind. I can still see him out of the corner of my eye, and try not to look, as if he were the sun. And yet, I still see him everywhere, like the sun, without even looking.

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In moments of self reflection and growth, I see potential in vulnerability. As I look around myself, I see wounds no longer festering, but wounds not yet fully healed. How must I grow when I am still hurting? I do not live at the expense of my abuser, but I am open. I am selective. I have become a Sherlock Holmes of sorts, studying those who step within my circle of protection; the glass case around my heart. No longer do I push those out of my safe space, my hiding place. No longer do I shut them out. In the valley of my heart, the battelfield in which I have been defeated and I have conquered, I lay here now. There is no fight to be had, I cannot find the strength. I am taken by you. You tap your finger against the glass and it shatters without a struggle. I am weak under your touch. I am nervous, as you gently undress my personality, reveal my secrets, and behold my naked soul. But I trust you. We look at each other nervously, too scared to stare too long but unable to look away. You are my undoing, as I stand naked before you, I surrender to your touch.

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