my father only tried to talk to me about it once. this was a few months after i finally had to tell them, a year after they watched me stumble through graduation and fall into a deep swallow-suck, drowning very gradually but definitely, both hands tied. this was by then a few months and a year after the first time it was full and also a stranger (i hadn’t told them about any assault since i was a teen), the time i woke up swollen inside and outside still inside the grip of a fist that pulled me by the hair into a concrete wall, the memory still a smash rather than a sigh. the same morning then, the first time i crawled into a cab that pulled away wordlessly from the curb and tried to talk me into the emergency room but dropped me finally, for free and with a few kind and careful words, off to friends ready to report me missing. the men in the corner store tried to catch my bleeding head in piles of napkins. i ordered two slices of pizza and ate it swaying on the sidewalk before i went inside.
the nurse some days later asked about the police and i told her about the last time and her eyes filled with tears.
my father asked a year and a few months later how it was different than being robbed, how it wasn’t just getting over a gun to the head, like before. we could move on from that, couldn’t we, eventually? i could not explain the splintering, the extinguishing of the soul. i could not explain the sheer blanket of terror enveloping all moments of men leaning slightly towards me on the train or while ringing up my groceries.
this time, this november and ever since, my father did not ever speak to me about it- only to say he would pray, which is the same as giving up on my behalf. what’s it about horrors that make us all give up our hope? they brought in a priest when i was on bed-rest those weeks and i turned my face to the wall. women approached my mother in public places and told her i would spend my life being knocked down by all the men we knew. she came to me in the mornings- a woman full of grief i’ve seen cry just twice- with my small bowl of overcooked rice and red-rimmed eyes.
…this story goes on and on and on and i’ll just stop but it goes on.
these months later is only still a flounder. i am not enough to work. i am not enough. every day loses hope as i’m dragging along a pile of flesh pretending to be human. i am not sure i can get any better than this again. i am not sure i am.
is this the new eternity?