My heart breaks for her.
(It is hard for me to say "me" that my heart breaks for "me". I can say "her". My heart breaks for this little girl in the picture, but there is a dis-connect between her and me. I am not sure why that is. I am trying to connect with her, to allow myself to feel broken-hearted for myself instead of just feeling "broken".)
I run my fingertips over the picture. I touch her soft blond hair, look into those blue eyes that are so big, her chubby little legs poking out of her short, white, little girl dress and she is the picture of innocence and beauty.
I look at her and I want to snatch her up out of the picture and hold her, protect her from the shadow that I know is lurking, and the tears spill over the damn that has been holding them back.
She is just a picture. Flat. I can't protect her. The shadow will get to her. Her little white dress of innocence will become stained and dirty. She will become nothing more than a dishrag used to mop up the shadow's desires. She will become broken and scared; looking for home. Words will elude her, she won't have them to say. No one will come to rescue her. No one will come to rescue her and she will cry. She will cry and the memories will hide in the recesses of her mind just as I imagine that she tried to hide. My heart breaks for her, because I can't take that away. I can't take it away, because her broken-ness is my own.
I am broken and all I can do is look at her and let the tears spill down, because I couldn't save her. Now I am left here looking at a picture of a person that I couldn't protect and all I can do is try to un-loose the memories that she burried deep. I need to find her crouched small in the darkened corner of my mind and bring words to her wordlessness, take her by the hand and lead her to the home that she so desperately sought all those years ago.
I need to look at her and see that she is me and I need to find that same broken-hearted compassion that I feel for her and give it to myself. I need to let the tears spill down for me as well as for her, because it is time for both of us to stop hiding. I need to find the right someone to help me do this. To show me how to find her, to find the words, and the memories, and then how to get back home.