Trigger Warning: abusive relationships and sexual assault
The cool light of the afternoon sun washes over me as I undress. I let out a breath and try to make sense of this new world I have found myself in. You do not keep your towels in the hall closet like I do. Your counter is bare and lonely; you have always felt like more of a hotel than a home.
I meet my own eyes in the mirror, and small glimpses of last night flash before my eyes. My face in your lap again. Going down again. Choking and just wishing it would all be over. (Did I really miss this?) You finish. You are done with me. I stumble to your bathroom in the dark and the moonlight peers in through your skylight and illuminates my face.
Not enough to see the color of my eyes, but just enough to show the pain and embarrassment you left behind on my skin. It shines just enough for me to recognize the blood on my face that should have never been there. (I should have never been there.) I avoid my own eyes while I clean myself up and brush my teeth. If I do my best to pretend it never happened, maybe it will have never happened. Maybe time will reverse. Or I will wake up in my own bed, alone. Alone but never lonely. Alone but still whole.
I do not know how I thought I could ever forget you. We packed a lifetime of trauma into just a few short years. I hope you’re happy now. I hope you’re happy with the life you crafted for yourself after you picked apart every inch of mine. Did you sew yourself back together with the thread you pulled from my seams? Are you whole now? Are you happy? (Are you?) Can you look in the mirror and still recognize the person looking back at you? Or are you a stranger now, too? A guest in your own body who just won’t fucking leave. A parasite.
This body. What can I possibly say about this body? She has been so many things to other people, but what about to herself? When was the last time she did something just for herself? I know the bits of you smeared all over my face are not for me. You are here looking for a void to get lost in while all I have ever wanted was to be found. To make sense. To see someone and just know that they are home. They are everything I have ever wanted in my life and then some. They are my person, and I mean more to them than all of the things this body could ever be used for.
The room is spinning as I stumble to your bathroom. Over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat. A different day, a different time, but always the same outcome. Dizziness and darkness, was your goal always just to make me confused? To make sure I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was getting into, so I would never be able to leave? Did you plan to love me just enough to keep me hanging on, but not enough for it to actually mean something?
It wasn’t until you that I really started to wonder if love could ever really mean something. Maybe all of the movies are wrong, and love is not happiness or comfort. Maybe love is a dark room that spins at midnight and a cold washcloth to cleanse yourself of the sins you’ve just lost yourself in. Maybe love is getting back into a bed that you could never feel comfortable in just to keep the peace. Maybe love is taking those few precious moments of afternoon light and desperately trying to become whole again.
Maybe I loved you. Maybe I did not.
No matter how many times I try to wash you away, you always remain on my skin.