(in a very particular order)
She was the one. I entered her house, and then our house, and then my house, and the structure was home. With her I could sit on a cold concrete stoop smoking my tenth cigarette and not feel I was actively dying, but that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, being productive even. She held a mirror up and it reflected the person that I wanted to be and the world that I wanted to live in for the first time. I was ideal when I was with her. She was my house, my shelter, the way her skin folded over her bones was the way my father was supposed to tuck me in as a baby girl.
I was barely seventeen and he was my twenty-eight-year-old boss. He threatened to kill himself the night I told him no. Eventually I realised I was powerful, but entirely too late. I had the power not to choose these men who thought they could trap me with their fragility and the assumption of my sympathy. I can’t solve a man’s problems with my body, I can’t solve a man’s problems because it is not my job.
Throw all that out the window. I gave him everything including any empowerment I had ever felt, but none of it was the right thing, he did not want any of that. I thought lowly enough of myself to be infatuated with someone who was hollow. Hollow because he was tired of life already and didn’t want me: a great big handful of fresh grown-up life. He hated me, he hated this kind of woman: the kind of woman that I am. I can’t heal from months and months of desperately and madly attempting to erase myself, of trying to quieten down, of trying to be less, or trying to become hollow so that he could feel full. I can’t heal from everyone around me saying it was the right thing to do. He was not a good man but no one will ever know it. I went crazy afterwards and it had everything to do with me, but not nothing to do with him. I can’t heal from the weight of everything that eventually crushed me, and only me.
p.s. Congratulations on your marriage and new baby, you could have told me that was what you wanted and I would have left immediately, saving us both the trouble.
You are the best, you are the best, you are the best. Because you are so far away.
Morgan McLaughlin is an English lit graduate and fierce feminist. She believes in opshops, equality and being kind. In her spare time you can catch Morgan drinking black coffee, petting cats and sticking it to the man.