Snap, crackle, pop

I shouldn't feel responsible for other people's well-being if my role in their struggles is little more than incidental. Unfortunately that doesn't tame the swell of empathy and compassion, riddled with the aftertaste of responsibility as it may be. I am not innocent by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I enter every situation with good intentions. My feet are planted firmly and I'm careful not to wander beyond the wayside, but I seem to find myself at the forefront regardless.

I'm tiptoeing over egg shells, but in spite of my careful step I'm clumsy and the sound of constant crackling fills the air. I can't say whether the surface underneath is breaking at this precise point or if it's simply a looming premonition of things to come. Neither is preferable, but I know it's one or the other. I'm not a stupid man.

How do these things come to pass, I wonder? I walk alone with a comfortable pace, owing absolutely nothing to anyone, eyes fixed towards the great unknown and my thoughts filled with things that would make most men smile, yet my feet get tangled in weeds I haven't planted and the undertow pulls me in deeper with commanding grip. The fact that I can tear away at any moment and continue my stride doesn't widen my array of options, lest I wish to grow disillusioned about who and what I am. Without debt indeed, then? No. I owe it to myself to be a better man than that.

It's hard to be happy. To allow yourself to be happy. Hard to snatch a lonely spark from the sky and hold it in your hands without smothering it. Hard to find more than mere seconds of joy, value and freedom away from the roaring tides within. More often than not it feels like you have to steal those moments from the cold clutches of this city.

To forget your name, drown in the eyes of another and draw breath from their wet lips - these, my friends, are the building blocks to make this world a better place. Why, then, are they so fragile?

The question is rhetoric, of course. Very few priceless things stand the test of time without lending from your strength. Whether they fall and shatter by negligence or a forceful push isn't really the crux here, either. The real question is how many times can you begin to rebuild before you start questioning the worth of the endeavor itself. Should that come to pass, well, then you're playing Russian roulette against yourself. Guess who eventually loses?

I like myself more at my most vulnerable. In turn, I like you best when the armor falls. It's such a shame we mistake the security of these obstructing constructs around us as the building blocks to lift us higher and protect us from the weeds and thorns at our feet. There is no better reminder of life's cruel, painfully beautiful nature than the scars they leave us with.