One upon a time, there were four children. They were grown, far into the ages of adulthood, but they were children. They carried bits of a child in them, clinging desperately to a corner of their hearts with a firm grip, unwilling to let go. They were children.
One was a fighter—grappling with his head and his hands to protect his heart that was left back home, back with his siblings and his wife. He graced himself with a uniform every morning and paroled his area, keeping it safe and sound so that no one he loved could be taken away from him, so that no one he needed would ever leave. He had the spirit of a soldier, always did. He washed the blood off of his hands with a soft prayer to God during the middle of the day, because he did what he had to do, he saved whom he had to save. He showed no remorse after those prayers—for his heart was filled with a fierce need.
The second one was a lover—she walked around with her heart not on her sleeve, but in the palms of her hands, giving it to whomever she came into contact with. She was a martyr, living for love and love alone. She bruised but she never broke, searching and searching for a love to give her a home, to give her a real place in this world. She kissed with a passion, adoration burning deep within her heart and flowing from her pores, keeping herself open and exposed and vulnerable. She sent up a kiss to God, every morning, because he hadn't turned her down, she felt. He hadn't left her like the other men did. She sent up a kiss to God because he was her safety blanket, the one who never left.
The third was an old soul—lost in his own mind as the days passed around him. Everybody thought he was insane, mentally impaired; but he was just waiting. Simply waiting for the light to show him the way. He was a saint; an uncorrupted, pure young man with a heart full of innocence. He regarded the world with a gentle touch, the light ghost of fingertips against a velvety smooth rose petal. He watched the world through a pink colored haze, because everything was beautiful and unsullied. He thanked God every night, knees pressed against cold, hardwood floors, for allowing him a place in this picturesque world. He saw the world through a pink colored haze, and everything was rosado.
The last was a writer—fingers pressed to scratchy, cement walls as she walked by them, leaving words and lyrics in her wake. She would cry out a chorus and beg for someone to sing her the bridge, or maybe a verse, but no one ever did. She delved into a world of tattoos and cigarettes, she wore droopy hats and the tightest pants she could find, and she made love that was more like loveless fucking. She wore chunky boots and stared down anyone who judged her for her scars, she liked beautiful words that rolled off of her tongue like waves on the shoreline, and she cried vulgarities at a God that she didn't even believe in; at a God who had left her and her family all alone, at a truth that no one else seemed to realize. She drowned herself in alcohol and wrote until her fingers were sore and aching, until her brain couldn't even catch up anymore. She wrote about the dark, about her siblings and their love, about how it didn't amount to anything but heartache. She wrote until she cried because the words screamed back at her, confirming all of her horrors and anxieties. She wrote until exhaustion took over, and the grey, bleak light of the rising morning blanketed her body with a warmth that almost ran cold. "We cannot buy innocence." It had whispered, a caressing breeze of a statement as her eyes slipped shut and her breathing evened. When she woke up, it had already been forgotten.