The Dark Thing

Les-than-nothing played alone every day.
She told herself she preferred it that way.
But truth be told, she was not alone
For deep in her brain a dark thing had grown.
As Les went about her day,
The dark thing had plenty to say:
“No one like you, you’re boring, they don’t want you here.
If you were gone, they wouldn’t even shed a tear.”
Without family that showed her she brought joy to their world,
Life was lonely for this sad little girl.

She found she could silence the dark thing with books:
Stories of adventure, heroes and crooks,
Magical kingdoms, animals and more.
The world of imagination gave her a door,
To a place of wonder where Les could escape,
Become in her mind someone great,
Someone with purpose, someone who belonged,
Someone who could right terrible wrongs.
But the dark thing would wait for the girl to come back,
And then it would launch another attack.

“You’re pathetic, you’re stupid, you’ll do nothing great.
To be lonely and useless -that’s your fate.”
Without friends to encourage her to give things a try,
She stuck to her room and let life pass her by.

One day, the family got a calico kitten.
She was shy and little. Les was smitten.
The cat would curl up on the foot of her bed.
“Someone loves me,” the little girl thought in her head.
But the cat grew unhappy, did bad kitty stuff.
“See,” said the dark thing, “you’re not good enough.
For she didn’t know what her brothers had done.
They’d taunted and tormented the cat for fun.
Mom saw no choice but to get rid of the pest.
“I’m alone again,” thought poor little Les.

Now school was a place where Les excelled.
The more she studied, the less she dwelled,
On the lack of connection to family or friends.
Her successes at school almost made amends.
For school was a place where Les was more:
More intelligent, more hardworking, more enthusiasm galore.
But the more she stood out, the more kids would say,
“She’s not the one with whom I’d like to play.”
When Les stopped for a moment to consider her pain,
The dark thing would launch into another refrain.

“You’re worthless, you’re invisible, you don’t belong.
Everything about you is totally wrong.”
How was she to know how to live her life,
When what brought her solace also brought her strife?

She threw herself into a course of study,
That led to a career with lots of money,
Fine things and travel, respect for her skill,
Nice cars, a big office… but still,
Her life was empty. She cared not for her role.
Finding her passion became the goal.
So quitting her job seemed like the thing to do,
To sail upon the ocean blue.
For the first time ever, the dark thing fell quiet.
“I’m on the right path,” she thought, “though most would deny it.”

Out on the water with wind in her face,
The pain of loneliness were all but erased.
For Les felt a union with this invisible thing.
It made her feel daring and interesting.
She loved it – this thrill of flying with speed.
She’d discovered her passion, her obsession, her need.
And lo and behold, there were others like Les.
Do you know what happened? Can you guess?
She found acceptance friendship and camaraderie.
This community of sailors became like family.

Once in a while the dark thing comes around,
Still doing its best to bring Les down.
But she’s learning to banish the dark thing and its ploys
Now that her heart has felt kinship and joy.