They looked at her, waiting, the way she used to look at him. So she walked away.
She learned to associate power with calculated manipulation and malicious attacks.
She had watched every other power succumb to the gas.
There were intrusive memories of loud boisterous dinner parties. And it shocked her when she saw this reflected in the afterward.
Had he really allowed such a spectacle? This man who was so inside out flat black that not even the sun could be reflected.
This man who felt safest under the radar of absolutely everything, even in his most open circles.
Had he really allowed us to fawn so openly and grotesquely under a spell?
Of course. It didn’t make sense. But it was no mistake. It was cognitive dissonance.
Of course. It wasn’t her imagination. She remembered the rush of color so bright it almost looked like heaven.
She remembered wondering that first time, so many years ago, questioning the lack of warmth. But dismissing it like a good girl.
And for a long time, she simultaneously needed and feared the witnesses.
You see that, right?
Well, do something.
She pleaded until her throat was so raw, she convinced herself that the ones who saw and did nothing were as much to blame.
There. Did you see that? What does it mean?
She asked until she was convinced that asking only caused her and those she loved more pain.
The things that haunted her were so subtle that they didn’t even register on the emotional navigation system of those around her.
And she grew to hate triangles.
Triangles, for fuck sakes. And everything they represented. Both the good and the bad. And the horrific.
It was the subtle traps that she loathed, in reality. Not the witnesses who stood silently by.