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There is never a good time to remove the armour, yet it must be done. He couldn’t go on like that forever. The weight. The strain. The dents, scuffs, scratches, dirt. The blood, sweat and tears – most of it his own.

Starting is the worst. You just can’t let it go all at once, falling to the ground at your feet. As he removed it – latch by latch, joint by joint, piece by piece – he was especially alert. Watching for attack. Expecting the worst. He had to. If he was wearing all of it, he was safe. If he wasn’t wearing any of it, he could run. But now, stuck somewhere in-between, he could neither fight nor run. He had to make a choice; he had to stand by it: remove the rest of it, or put it back on.

Did he really want it back? He was tired of fighting, now old and broken. Did he really have a choice? No. It had to happen. Latch by latch, joint by joint, piece by piece, the armour gathered at his feet. He kicked it aside, in case he had to make a defensive move. He needed room; his space. He couldn’t stand clutter.

Of course, the helmet and visor were first to go – and the easiest. He felt the breeze, the Sun, gently caressing his weathered face. But, like removing the bricks from an old dam, those first few bricks invite an outpouring, flooding down. Brick by brick, it grows larger, until the foundations are gone and it bursts free. Starting with the helmet and visor, he could feel it bubbling up, trickling down; cleansing some wounds and stinging others.  Latch by latch, joint by joint, piece by piece it was soon free to flow – a torrent of emotions, feelings, regrets, sensations and memories. All the things that had been said and done to him, all the battles he had fought and won (but mainly lost), it all lay open. Flowing down his injured frame, it pooled at his feet, threatening his footing, filling the empty armour resting there – already starting to rust in salty tears. There was no going back now. He was fully committed. It was unwearable – almost unbearable. He kicked it away, nearly slipping in the rapidly forming mud, in case he had to make a defensive move. He needed room; his space. He couldn’t stand clutter.

Latch by latch, joint by joint, piece by piece – he was especially alert. Watching for attack. Even at the half way point, he had doubts. He always had doubts. Was he doing the right thing? His former self lay in pieces around his feet – a knighthood thrust upon him by family and obligation. His new self, the son and the heir, dazed by Sun and the air, stuck out helplessly, a caterpillar half emerged from its cocoon. There would always be doubts. But he couldn’t go on living like that. He’d had enough. This was him. He pushed it away with his foot, nearly slipping in the rapidly forming mud, in case he had to make a defensive move.

Latch by latch, joint by joint, piece by piece – then the final piece. He removed the cold, muddy boots, casting them aside. He took a moment to catch his breath, wipe his brow. Normally, he didn’t allow himself the luxury.

He hesitated, unsure. His body didn’t belong to him. They had to get used to each other. He was starting all over again.  He slowly walked away, stumbling around the discarded armour, as if using his legs for the first time. He resisted looking back at the debris of his former life – the latches, joints and pieces. If he ever needed it, he knew where it was, on the battlefield, rusting in the Sun and air. The son and heir slowly retreated into an uncertain future. He didn’t think he’d be back.

 

 

Postscript

I live for coincidences and happy collisions. It is serendipitous that I happened to listen to this song while going over this post. I love it! Hope you enjoy it too.

Lyrics
One cold damp evening
The world stood still
I watched as I held my breath
A silhouette I thought I knew
Came through, someone spoke to me
Whispered in my ear
This fantasy’s for you
Fantasy’s are in this year
My whole life flashed, before my eyes
I thought, what they say is true
I’ve shed my skin, and my disguise
And cold on the naked eye
Emerged from my cocoon
And a half-remembered tune played softly in my head
He said
He turns smiling
And says
I realize a miracle, is due
I dedicate this melody, to you
I realize a miracle, is due
I dedicate this melody, to you
But is this the stuff dreams are made of?
If this is the stuff dreams are made of
No wonder I feel like I’m floating on air
No wonder I feel like I’m floating on air
I realize a miracle, is due
I dedicate this melody, to you
But is this the stuff dreams are made of?
If this is the stuff dreams are made of
No wonder I feel like I’m floating on air
No wonder I feel like I’m floating on air
No wonder I feel like I’m floating on air
Everywhere
Oh, it feels like I’m everywhere
Like when you fail to make the connection, you know vital it is
Oh when something slips through your fingers you know precious it is
Oh and you reach the point when you know
It’s only your second skin
It’s only your second skin
(Something’s banging on my door) like when you fail to make the connection, you know vital it is
(Someone’s banging on my door) oh when something slips through your fingers you know precious it is
(Something’s banging on my door) or reach the point when you know it’s only your second skin
(Someone’s banging on my door, something’s banging on my door)
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Dave Fielding / John Lever / Mark Burgess / Reginald Smithies
Second Skin lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

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