Maybe he doesn’t hit you….but he threatens to. He breaks things. Storms around ripping legs from seats, turning vases and lamps into shards and you just want to start over, want to put back all of those tiny pieces, want to undo but–
Maybe he doesn’t hit you, but he calls you slut, whore, cheating bitch, goes through your phone and polices your clothes. Hoe, where are you going? That dress is too tight. Who are you trying to attract? Slut.
Maybe he doesn’t hit you, but when you’re not at home, he never stops texting you. Calls 306 times in a week. Tells you to cut off your friends and family. All we need is us, babe. I don’t need nobody else but you.
Maybe he doesn’t hit you, but he criticizes the way you pick your nails when you’re nervous, or yells at you if you talk too much, and sneers when you become silent. Nothing is ever enough, and you don’t know if you’ve had enough. Is there even “enough” to have? Whatever it is, you’ve had it, yet… here you still are. Are you weak? That’s what he’ll tell you when you’re wilting under the weight of his oppression. That’s what he’ll scream when you are shrinking away from a heart that pounds so hard it hurts…it hurts. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to cut it out?
But, that’s the thing about cancer. You can cut it out, and it will grow back. You can try to cut it out and it can spread, sinking its claws into every piece of you until you don’t know yourself from the victim you’ve become. You and the victim are strangers, but you share the same name…are trapped in the same body.
This pain does not become you. You do not become pain and peace when you open your wrists, do not trickle down the drain with the water and wine. You do not smell as sweetly as an open bottle. Do not breathe so freely as a long shower.
I have been where you are. I am there… twice a day. Three times a month. Every night in dreams that dissolve into nightmares. Will we ever be free?