“I’ll take what I want when I want.”
Your statement was in reference to your careless sexual agenda with me, but its raw meaning didn’t remain confined to your hot breath on my skin, your cold hands on my hips, the burning between my thighs with every movement. You said it with a tone that hinted you were joking, but it turned out to be the only truth to ever slither off your venomous tongue. Every word of every phrase from your vile lips was dark, distant, and deceitful, just like you; you were never more than a malicious, unsteady shadow cloaked flawlessly with light.
In the beginning, all that was visible was that love of life, that brilliant charm, that wide grin and witty banter, but over time the cloak fell to shredded pieces scattered on the floor. I didn’t realize I would soon be strewn across the floor too, clinging to the bits of light barely visible anymore. You led me blindly into your shattered world, and shattered me with it, with you. You took anything you wanted, everything I didn’t have to offer. I unveiled my heart quickly, young, blatant naivety placing it in your hands before you earned it. Your response was to yank it from me as though it was an object that already belonged in your possession; you were never gentle with it, just like you were never gentle with me.
You defined love and fear for me, both of which I am still trying to redefine seven years later. What you were willing to give was never love; love does not yell ruthlessly at a terrified girl, nor does it strip her of her identity by placing rough hands where they are not wanted, or control her life as if it were your own. The way you defined fear, however, was simple: stay on your toes upon the eggshells; do not cry for the tears may melt the thin ice; tread quietly as to not anger him, for his tongue is a whip, his fists wrecking balls, and his voice a volcano. My effort didn’t matter, though. Your explosions of anger and the side effects they brought had no instigation, and their sporadic yet guaranteed occurrences left me frozen in fear because you kept fight and flight for yourself. You could fight if you chose to. You could go as you pleased, but not me. I was to bend to your rules, do as you said, and I was afraid I wouldn’t have a tomorrow if I didn’t.
The power was yours, the control was yours, but it was never my choice; you never heard me, never cared to listen, and I could not speak over you. While you were suspicious, I was transparent, but I guess the terror I laid on the table wasn’t good enough… or maybe you enjoyed seeing it there. You shoved me away with your animosity, but kept me chained so you could yank me back into your smothering arms, bereft of solace or comfort; all I found in them was a horrid inability to breathe, or the sound of your fist against the wall too close to me. Each time your lifeless fingertips touched my skin, you tore away yet another piece of me, never belonging to you, and took a lit match to it; I watched as I slowly became less and less, engulfed in flames, in shock and in pain.
Maybe one day I’ll stop hating myself for allowing you to pull me back to you like a fish on a hook. You held vicious secrets in one palm, untrue accusations in the other, and over time they slipped through your fingers to land at my feet, like shards of glass among the eggshells. It didn’t take long for my steps to become painful, my footprints a trail of dark red on the ice, but you demanded I keep walking. I lived in your rain, cringed under your thunder, trembled beside your lightning; you were a ceaseless thunderstorm, one you implanted within me to hold until it destroyed me, until you destroyed me. I lost who I was to you, my identity altered because of you, my future uncertain and daunting. I’m still trying to put myself back together, but missing pieces make it difficult. I hope you didn’t keep them; I hope you tossed them away thoughtlessly. You never deserved any part of me. I don’t know who I am anymore; you took that from me. I never should have been forced to be that strong, but I was not given an option. I was never given a choice.
Someday I hope to no longer find you in everything which should be beautiful. I fight myself every day, but am I really fighting myself, or am I still glued to your shadow? Somehow you still remind me of all I couldn’t be.