My normally pale bark, flushed a deep shade of scarlet, radiating heat. Humiliation so deep, I fear I will not resurface. Tears threaten to give me away. They want to spill down. Fall, fall, until they are free from my unworthy body. I can not release them. They will sweep away everyone Ive ever cared about. Who could ever love someone, too weak to prevail against simple words? Through my minds eye, I see how it could’ve been. The only tears I’d shed would be of joy. Empty of the salt you poured into my wounds. I feel myself slipping. One tear. The traitorous thing breaks through my defenses, hitting the ground with a all too loud thud. Thunder claps behind my lids, cheering on the liquidy warrior. Encouraged, its eager companions follow suit. They parade down my face, a public display of humiliation for the defeated. Head hung low to disguise my failure, I shuffle back. Back to the shadow of a life I’d just emerged from. I am safer there.