Vulnerably Confident

By Ellen Scherer

After Demi and Leslie

“I see our future without you” 
The text glared back at her as she tried to run through 
scenarios that could have led to this “breakthrough.” 
Time and battery life dwindled. She tried to breathe steady. 
She knew this was coming. She should have been ready. 
Still, she started to shake. Palms damp with sweat. Forehead full and heavy. 


Did she still crave the attention and the bubble pink affection 
that showered all the other girls back when they were ten?
Her finger hovered over “send.” She read through it again. 
Did you forget I need someone on days like this? 
I know how bad it must hurt to see me like this. 
I’m gonna say thank you- Here we go again… like this. 

Stone cold in frayed clothes, cracked skin, rent check spent 
“there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerably confident,” 
the therapist said. Anyone (else) understand what she meant? 
She sighed and tried to write the truth again 
like she’d always tried to do with mothers and men. 
Somewhere we went wrong, but I’m staying myself. I know where I’ve been. 

Inhale: so complicated. 
Exhale: don’t let it show.
Hurry before you lose the digital glow 
Three… Two… One… Go. 
This  muzzled radio humming someone else’s story through the window, 
still, she waited on the steps of her neighbor’s bungalow, 
Did they know she’d rung herself out for them? Drained her rainbow?

She pinned her heart to her sleeve and kept her day-dreaming discreet.
Splinters are just tiny branches that fall. They’re not obsolete. 
She’s no different. A hundred million prayers unraveled. Fell at her feet. 
She was tired of smiling through golden-robbed dreams. 
She’d do anything for them but got nothing at all, so it seems.  
And new colors were finally bursting through her seams. 

So what’s wrong with being vulnerably confident?

Ellen Scherer is a writer, director, and co-founder of Green Buffalo Productions (GBP), based in Buffalo, NY. Recent publications include I’ve Got Nothing (Too Well Away), A Year of Fruit (Spirited Muse Press), I’ll Drink to That (The Literatus), and RCVI: Gun Violence (Rosen Publishing). Other writing credits include 2020 Was My Year (A Moment of Your Time), When the Party’s Over (Cone Man Running), I Was Here (Equity Library Theatre, Open Space Arts, Inclusive Theatre of WNY), I’ve Got Your Back (GBP), and Scary Monsters (GBP, Inclusive Theatre of WNY). Ellen has directed and produced several pieces for GBP over the past 3 years and has recently added to her bag of tricks as a film editor for the company’s Spooky Film Festival. Twitter: ellen_gbp IG: green_bflo

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