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Gabrielle stared out the window at the gloomy, gray sky and felt an overwhelming sense of…too much. Depression. Fear. Suffocation. Rain streamed down from the sky, almost as if it was sobbing. She somehow felt that was appropriate today. She thought about stepping out the door and letting the drops wash over her, hoping it would take with it all this pain and fear and baggage. But she knew that it was just as likely to add to the weight she carried around in her soul and that was the last thing she needed.

After a year of being alone, she thought she had finally been able to rid herself of the emotional baggage that had accumulated over the years. She was trying to start over, start clean. Starting clean didn’t seem possible though. No matter how hard she tried to deal with issues that had held her prisoner, they still seemed to be there. The insecurities went into hibernation, but inevitably came back out to feed when it was most dangerous for her. Gabrielle always tried too hard to please others. Make them happy. Understand their needs. Meet their desires. Nobody, however, ever seemed to want to return the favor.

In her last relationship, her ex had taken advantage of her good nature. Over and over and over. Gabrielle was never a priority. Never first. Rarely given any consideration at all. When she tried to change that, it usually ended with an argument about how selfish she was and how she needed to change. After four years of the same shit, Gabrielle finally put herself first and ended the relationship. The scars remained though. So did the ghosts of those fights and conversations. Even now, she was still afraid to tell people what she wanted and needed. She was afraid they’d turn it around and make her out to be the villain. It wasn’t fair to others, but it was reality.

How do you get rid of baggage that has been with you most of your life? Gabrielle didn’t know the answer. So many people had walked away from her. Some without explanation. Some because they thought she wanted too much. She didn’t understand most of the time. She thought what she wanted was pretty simple. Respect. Consideration. Time. Love. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

When she met Lucy, she had prayed that these ghosts and the baggage wouldn’t follow her. They did. She tried to ignore them. She confronted them and told them to drop dead. She kicked them out the door. But they came back. Time after time, they snuck back in, trying to sabotage her new relationship whenever they could. She wanted them gone. She needed them gone. She didn’t want Lucy to have to deal with baggage that wasn’t hers. Every insecurity, every fear, came running in the minute Gabrielle opened up her life and her heart to Lucy.

Thunder cracked overhead and a wall of water descended from the sky. It battered the tender plants that sat unprotected on the patio. She hoped the plants would survive the storm without too much damage. She hoped the same for herself and Lucy.

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2 comments for “Baggage

  1. Keith Joiner
    October 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Erin, I can’t read this without seeing myself. The baggage of my failed marriage. The baggage of a relationship since. Making someone a priority while being no more than an option for them. In short, being used. Angst? Gotcha. Peace, my sister.

  2. Cranky
    October 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Excellent. The first paragraph especially was lovely, if sad. This is the story of many people – the willingness to try to make others happy, the unwillingness to demand the same for themselves.

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