T/W: references to sexual and physical assault, narcissistic abuse
I used to swim in the seas of my senses. My waters would ebb and flow with the tides, in sync with the moon and her cycles. My ocean was full of unexplored terrain, eager to be explored.
I remember learning how to find my voice in folds of skin, before learning it was a sin. Family, friends, pastors, each had their own story to tell about how it would send me to Hell. But really, it was Heaven.
I travelled alone, eager for depth, but naïve to its dangers.
Like a port in the storm, you appeared on my shore. You had a blaze of red upon your head, cascading like snakes down your back, beckoning me to eat from your Tree of Knowledge.
I had found my first match. Awkward sparks flew at first, but you soon engulfed me in your flames. You could say we got on like a house on fire, but it was really just like a house fire. Except no one called the authorities. They should have.
The honeymoon phase was exciting at least. You gave me attention, a resource my family couldn’t buy, and couldn’t be bothered to provide. You gave me late night study sessions and my first taste of cheap alcohol, if you could call it that. Even today the thought of drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade makes my stomach churn. Because you, not the beverage, were the worst kind of hangover. You demystified maths for me, but you were mostly interested in triangulation: the narcissist’s favorite angle.
It wasn’t long before I choked on your smoke and mirrors. I thought you were my rock, but you were my stonewall, obstructing me at every turn.
I thought you had parted my seas, but you were an Exodus into exile.
It’s hard, upon reflection, to understand the source of my attraction to you. Perhaps it’s because you were everything I wasn’t. Where I would hold my tongue for fear of it being cut out, you would wield the blade. Where I would wander meekly through life, always playing small, you would loom large, casting shadows in your wake.
You were new and novel. Exciting. And I suppose I was, too, for you. I was something pure, seemingly innocent. A contrast to your jagged edges. A someone whom you could easily curl around your finger. You always did like my curls, and now I know why…
You spread my legs and your seed.
You mistook my land for yours.
You will reap what you sow.
I remember when I lost my voice, your hands like a lasso around my neck. The river that once ran through my veins ran cold, then broke like brittle icicles. She is now desiccated, dehydrated, and thirsty for the thaw.
When I think back now, I realize you were everything that I was taught to love as a child. Someone with unhealthy boundaries. Someone unavailable. Someone whose love I had to prove myself worthy of. Maybe I thought I could fix you? I’m not sure. It didn’t work out for Florence Nightingale, though, and it didn’t work out for me, either. Or us. But it lasted far too long.
I remember seeing you in the hospital a few years later. They traumahawked you there. You had finally gotten that helicopter ride you wanted, but you didn’t remember it. You didn’t remember me, either. Or at least what really happened between us.
When you woke up from your coma, you asked for me, as if nothing had ever transpired. In your memory, I was still yours. And I found I had lost my voice all over again.
Engulfed in the desert’s parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.
💞Thank you for reading. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources, suited for different identities, abilities, etc. 💞
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