“I wish her well,” he declared in a song with the magnanimous attention to his words that made him feel, no doubt, like a generous king.

I chew my lips and choke miserably on my silence. I want to speak so loudly. I want to throw things, tear at things, cry out from the sheer agony of this betrayal. But a woman’s words can be shrill even when whispered. I must be careful now. I can’t give into the pain. The way he leans and slinks, so disarming and unassuming. No one will believe me. No one will see me. And if I say it, if I proclaim it, what then? A barrage of interrogations I cannot answer just yet. A roomful of pointing fingers.

This is your fault. This is your fault. This has to be your fault.

I cannot tell them what it felt like to have his spit streaming down my face, his body pressed against mine, crushing me, suffocating me; his arms dragging me to the stairs.

I cannot tell them how it felt to be held by him and taken again from behind. The slamming and grunting and disregard to my pleas.

I cannot tell them what it felt to have every word I cried crash into him like waves on rocks. Shattered. Split open. Useless.

(This reminds me of a memory. We were on a South Carolina beach, and the waves threw him into the rocks of a jetty and cut open his legs. I remember tearing at my dress and preparing to plunge into the depths of the ocean to reach him. But the waves carried him to me the moment I had leaped to my feet. They deposited him, tumbling and flailing, safely, as if by command, right back onto the shore, and he fell into my arms bleeding and crying in pain. My heart swelled with love. I held him tight. I cried with him and told him he was going to be okay and put bandages to the bleeding)


I cannot tell them about when I bled. How it gave him pleasure to see it. Pride. How he loved fucking me until I was bloody. Or how he would rape me until I was incontinent then hop onto his bike for a beer afterwards. How I pissed myself and collapsed in a heap of exhaustion on his way out.

Tonight I habitually tug down my sleeves as he plays his new farewell on the guitar. People are with him. Drinking. Smiling. A kingdom built on my blood. Music created from my silence.

Meanwhile I go home to vomit. Alone. I cannot hold it in.

He is smiling and clean. No guilt.

But those pointing fingers have followed me. They are accusing me, and I am speechless. I see my abuser, and we are blurred into one. I cannot separate his sins from my own. I cannot let go of the guilt of what he did. He taught me that to swallow his guilt was to prove my love. To take on his shame was to show I was devoted.

But now I am sick and alone. Trying to throw up this poison. I am abandoned. Discard. Silenced and afraid. I do not see an exit from this pain. The shame is a jetty of jagged rocks.

And meanwhile, his guitar plays confidently in the dark. He is smiling, and he wishes me well.

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