I can peg down the exact night you ruined me, the exact minute you destroyed the value of my own self-worth. I can tell you the second your words finally sank into my mind and I allowed them to fester into molding disgust. It was a seeded tumor, so small and finite that at first I ignored it, allowed it to lie. But then I nurtured the words, watered it, kept it thriving in the soil of my mind. I allowed the seed to grow into a tumor flowering it’s poisonous berries day after day. I nipped at the lush fruit like a starving child, I coddled the flowering thorns even though they cut me straight to the bone, I allowed the vines to wrap around my neck cutting off my desire to breath. You stunted my growth in one single night, and I carried the weight because it was all I knew how to do.
Everything up until that moment was the same, always easily the same. Weekend morning of laziness, we didn’t wake up until maybe noon. I yawn and ask, “what’s for breakfast,” but not because I hope you will actually cook breakfast with me, you never do.
“Wanna go down to the corner café?” I nod my head at your question like it was a new adventure even though it had happened almost every weekend since you moved into your own little dwelling. I would never complain about your place, I loved it the way I love a nice snug blanket on a chilly afternoon. Tightly comfortable, soothing enough, but still not enough cover.
Our days roll into one another, a stumbling storm unkempt and without ties. The blur of monotony picks up a steady hum and I forget why I am here, where I am supposed to belong. But I don’t walk away, I don’t turn around. No matter how lonely I feel, I crave the constant. The beat of your force keeps me hanging on tight because once I let go you won’t take me any further. I am here because you allow me to be, I stay because I have nowhere else to go.
The first time it was small though it shook me straight to the core. It wasn’t expected, and it came from around a corner hidden beneath the cover of harshness. Fast lights, quick songs, steady drinks and some stumbling steps. Suddenly you were screaming at me to leave you, go away and never come back. Excuses lashed at my skin like a 1920s tommy gun, BAP BAP BAP, ongoing until I couldn’t take the abuse any longer. I may have walked out but I didn’t let go, otherwise why else did you come find me?
The next morning was smiles, a soft stretching in my direction and those sharp blue eyes. “Hey there,” you whispered, and I smiled in the heat of your words encouraging a tradition that would shred me into pieces that no one would be able to mend. At first I was ok, I remained steady and buoyant, but slowly I started to drown gripping onto the hand so tight that was slowly pulling me beneath the surface.
One night I drove you to the store because you needed “things”, but you seemed so distance. I reached for you and brought the back of your hand to my lips. You jerked back from me like I kissed your skin with hot coals. “Don’t do that!” You snapped at me, but I didn’t get it. I stared at you open mouthed and uncertain of what I did wrong, because it was me that was in error, me that made you snap, and me that made you get angry. I apologized like I always did when these little things happened, uncertain of why but also positive I was to blame.
A month before I left is when you brought down the axe, the infamous words that would haunt me for years to come. There were no surprises to me, maybe I should have seen it coming, maybe I should have expected the fight. By the tenth beer maybe again I was to blame, I didn’t stop you like I knew I should, and I didn’t hesitate when you yanked me off my stool and said it was time to leave. Maybe I should have known, but I didn’t, maybe I should have shoved you out of the car like I promised I would, but I didn’t. Maybe I should have listened to the voice screaming inside my head but tonight, I pushed it all away, and I snuffed out the only fight I had left.
Your words burned like salt in my eyes, ripped like a tidal wave down my cheeks but you didn’t stop. You continued the attack until we reached oblivion. I couldn’t come in, I couldn’t stay, you were pushing me so hard that I had no choice but to leave, but I didn’t. I didn’t fight you, there was no way I could, but I didn’t leave. I stayed there and watched as you threw my things out your front door. I waited until your lights blinked out and walked straight into your room. I curled up next to you and let your arm wrap around my middle, so familiar and so stern. “I’m didn’t mean it,” you say softly. Before I can answer, you are already asleep.
I walked away eventually visually unscathed and whole, but beneath this surface I was a rolling wreck of terror. Commitment became the enemy and loneliness became the drug I steadily tried to quit. There is a torrent of faces that flicker through my mind, a rolling number of names, but they didn’t care enough to dig beneath the surface and release the monster within. Bruises can be covered, but shattered glass is noticed right from the start. You broke me that day, shattered the core of my passion, and trampled the hope of my future. I can’t blame you for the destruction I have laid waste on my path to my present, but I do know you set off the spark. I won’t say I did nothing wrong, I have more faults than I can count, more mistakes than I would ever admit to, and more lies than I could ever explain away. Your destruction laid waste over my life for years and years, relentless in its wake, torrential in its path of destruction. You started this, but I will be the one to end it.
It wasn’t a perfect day, in fact it was grey and gloomy outside but the cool current kissed my skin in such a perfect way. There was something about the electricity in the air, something about the way I couldn’t seem to keep a smile from my lips, something about the way I was finally able to breath deep. You see something happened that I never expected, something happened in my life that I don’t think I ever thought could be a reality. There was ice around me, an impenetrable winter that kept me closed off and hidden from view. I thought the loneliness would kill me, perhaps snuff me out of pity. The knife of you had dug so deep, the pain of you gripped on so hard. But on my gloomy afternoon looking up into the greyish blue sky I realized that all my bruises had finally healed. That’s when everything changed.
I can feel the warm rays of Summer and the heat has never felt this good.