To D, with love and resentment – a letter to my abuser
Whenever I think of you – which is more often than I care to admit to myself or my lover – I always think of the day we went to Saint David’s Golf Club.
Public Safety had broken up the party at house 6, and you found me in the crowd that had yet to disperse. You put you arm around my waist, leaned in close and said, “Do you want to go somewhere?”
We went from the Mansion, to the Dixon Center, to the fence that marked the end of our world.
“Here,” you said, cupping your hands together. “I’ll give you a boost.”
On the other side, we lay beneath the stars, watching our breath disappear into the October sky. You confessed that you were too scared to tell your father you hated holes, and took my hand when I wouldn’t answer why I’d chosen a school over 200 miles away from home.
When the morning dew began forming, you said we’d better go. You hopped the fence first, and promise you would catch me. Once in your arms, you asked, “Can I kiss you?”
I said yes.
I remember the first time you struck me. I close my eyes and see the blood from my split cheek splattered across the white cinderblock. And then I can’t stop.
I wrap my arms around my ribs, pressing my fingers in tighter and tighter, trying to make sure they haven’t come loose.
If I’m wearing a tank, I switch into a t-shirt, hiding the scar on my shoulder – the first one you said I deserved. I use long pants to cover the tally marks you carved into my thighs – the ones you’d kiss the next morning, and beg me to forgive you for.
But my hand – the feeling hasn’t come back, and I doubt it ever will.
I hate that you come to me. I wake up on nights when the rain is heavy and the temperature is warm, wondering where I am and if it’s all been a dream. That it hasn’t been ten years, and that you’re about to come through the door and do it all over again.
I hate that sometimes I’m able to forget. That I go months and weeks and days never giving you a single thought.
But today wasn’t one of those days. You were alive and present and relentless. You took my safe space and made it yours and I wept.
I won’t say it will be the last time. I won’t say I am not afraid. And I won’t let you take anything more from me.
With love and resentment,