I like to think of it as a coffee can soul.

I don’t know what my soul looks like; it doesn’t even seem like a part of me. I carry it separate and apart – in a coffee can.  As long as it’s in there I can explore its past and contemplate the history that made it so small.  I can ask where it wants to go next.

I can’t lose it this way.  The can is big enough to find, even in low-lighting.  If I touch it, drop it, the crash-clang lets me know immediately.  The can is safe to hold onto and easy to cart around.

Inside the can, my soul is slowly turning into something stronger and more palatable.  Like an unfinished bread, I don’t want anyone to interrupt the work in progress and stop it from rising.  I worry that opening the lid to share it will just ruin the dough, or maybe me.  Like I said, I forget that it’s a part of me.  What if I let someone in and find out I have to start all over?

For some reason I can’t reconcile a relationship with the path I want to follow.  If I am figuring out me, how can I bring someone else into the equation?  That doesn’t seem like an answer so much as a delay tactic.

I want to know if it can just be a neutral factor.  Maybe a significant other wouldn’t contribute anything, but maybe he wouldn’t ruin it, either.  Maybe the things he would contribute wouldn’t turn into crutches, despite my disproportionate fears.  I am finally forcing myself to face myself – I don’t need help running away, but I am so worried that I will take the easy road if I pass by it again.

Would it matter?  There is no rule saying that I have to figure this stuff out.  No judge waiting to sentence me for stopping to enjoy my life.

But I feel hollow.  I don’t want to give someone the impression that I am ready to appreciate and treasure them.  I want to proposition a man with the benefits of skin-on-skin and a warning that all he will actually get is my coffee can soul.  Because my heart is in that can, too.  It is protected by the tin and the non-biodegradable plastic lid.  The seal is air-tight.  I’m not ready to break it open.