My phone kept chirping.
I didn’t want to look at it so I left the phone on my nightstand and left the bedroom. The rest of the house was dark so I flipped light switches on as I walked barefoot over hardwood floors that creaked with each step.
I hate it when these melancholy moods hit. I focus on my existence. The lights came on because of me. The floor is creaking because of me. I am still here. And not everybody wants to cause me harm.
Why did life have to be so complicated? Why did I have to second guess everything every waking second? Always picking apart intentions, motives, body language, and words. Constantly fighting my first instinct to hurl accusations at every person I know as if I already know the most obscene lie would be the truth?
Because bad things happen that’s why.
I shook my head. I hated that his voice was still in my head. He used to have a face but nearly three decades of trying to forget him had erased it from my memory. He was simply a force, a blurry outline of movement, and a voice.
Why are you crying? Shit happens.
Thank you for that lesson. It is a lesson I can’t unlearn. I learned a lot in the 46 minutes that were strung together like shards of stained glass. I wish often that I had bled out in your car but as fate would have it you got fired for bringing a car back in with a ruined passenger seat. You deserved it. Whoever bought that car also bought my virginity too.
My body healed. Not every rape victim can say that. I didn’t get a disease. I didn’t get pregnant. Can I call myself “lucky”?
But I couldn’t fix what was invisibly broken. I felt like such an idiot. A failure. A fool. A piece of trash.
However, I decided that night that my life wouldn’t skip a beat. I didn’t miss going to either one of my jobs the next day or to my normally scheduled night class. I made sure not to act strange around my parents or those I worked with. I worked super hard to move past… the mistake I made. Because for years I blamed myself for ever having trusted him.
It took time to realize why compliments made my heart race in a bad way. Or why I panicked when someone walked away from me when I was trying to speak my heart. I still have issues with trust. I can’t take anything at face value without picking it apart. And an unsolicited hug puts me on edge for days.
It sure does. He was right about that.
I could hear my phone still chirping in the other room as I checked to make sure all the doors were locked for the night. I got a glass of water and turned the lights off as I made my way back into the bedroom.
I pick up my phone and sighed.
I can’t look at social media with his voice in my head. He makes everything about me so that I can blame myself for not being good enough. So I can feel small and ugly. So I can feel stupid and pathetic. So I can find reasons everyone will soon give up on me or leave me.
I have to wait until he sleeps. He sleeps more these days and when he does I feel like a survivor. I feel I can see the truth of things as if they are shining beacons of light. I feel like a valuable piece of the puzzle and I don’t worry about the shit that happens because I know I can survive anything.
But when he is awake…