Friday, 18 March 2016


“I don’t know where I’m going” she says, staring into her paper cup.
“I’m scared. Who knows what lies ahead? All I know lies behind.”
He takes a deep breath, takes her hand and prepares to remind
his friend that what has been, is why she’s here right now.

That she couldn’t take any more, couldn’t live in the darkness.
Her mind tumbling, fumbling, bumbling towards the light.
But now, the weak glow of dawn doesn’t seem right.
It’s not the glorious blaze she thought would meet her,
to greet her like a prodigal daughter as she takes centre stage
(after all, who’s to say she can’t star, even at her age?).

Instead she finds a watery dose of reality,
No open arms, no pity party.
Not what she expected at all.

He takes her cup, puts it on the table, closes his coat
against the gale.
Wondering all the while if he is able to convince her that
she won’t fall, she won’t fail – she is enough on her own
to face the future and show the world she’s not done yet.

It’s not about ‘Happy Ever After’. Nor about a moment’s laughter.
He has no promises, no declaration of devotion or endless care.
But he is there - to hold her hand, to watch her try.  
To make her smile through tears, until they dry
upon her mascara-streaked cheeks .

But words fail him, sinking like sugar through froth in his coffee cup
stirred by a little plastic stick.
He takes a sip then turns his gaze to heavy clouds sulking on the horizon
like teenagers moping on the edge of social statistics.

“That’s where we’re going” he says, pointing forward.
“It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. A way to heal your trampled heart,
and put away what was, what might have been. 
Open your eyes to what you can be.”

She shakes her head but in surprise she sees,
wherever she goes, whoever’s she’s with, she is enough.

Not what she expected at all.

- AJ Millen, March 2016