Life in addiction
We sat on the couch, snuggled in blankets, watching "The Iron Giant." I was only eight and realized that my older sister had let me stay up past my bedtime.; it was almost 10:30 PM and the neighborhood had settled into a sleepy silence. My parents were out to dinner and a movie, a date-night that they rarely ever indulged in, and my sister was babysitting me instead of going out with all of her pre-teen friends. It felt nice to actually hang out with Sam, and bond with her.
A little more than halfway into the movie, the snacks caught up to me and I needed a drink. "Sam, can you pause the movie? Come with me to get something to drink really quick." Such a simple request, yet I could have never imagined, in my childish state of mind, what was coming within the next five minutes.
We both walked into the dark kitchen, and to this day I wonder why neither of us turned the light on. I leaned against the doorway that lead to the kitchen and watched as my sister went to the fridge. I asked for chocolate milk - the craving for it came unexpectedly. As she opened the door to the refrigerator, the light from the inside of it spilled into the short hallway leading to our front door. I followed the small pool of light with my eyes until I was suddenly looking at the door - and also looking at Him. I saw His figure looming on the other side of the door, His shadow moving slowly and quietly. My entire body froze; I felt paralyzed and lost the ability to hear anything except for my heart pounding within my chest. My small, fragile body stood completely still, and remained still even as I watched my front door open. The way He walked towards me seemed like slow motion, and He looked like a giant in the small hallway. I felt like I couldn't move a muscle or else I would fall apart, like a game of Jenga. Finally, He stepped into a sliver of light, and I stared into His mostly hidden face; He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, with the hood covering His head and most of His face, except for His eyes. I felt shredded by the look in them - full of confusion, rage, and maybe even fear."You're never gonna believe this - but it was a giant metal man." I could hear the movie blaring from the living room. I felt the way the boy in the film did; I was staring at this Man who was a giant compared to me, and He must have been made of metal - no human, made of flesh and with a beating heart, could encounter a terrified child and still proceed to attempt to destroy her. He was a Giant Metal Man.
When my eyes met His in that moment, it shook me and tore me out of my frozen state. Finally, my muscles contracted as I took a step away and backed into the other side of the doorway. My chest opened up and drew in just enough air to let out a scream, and my eyes were darting around the room, looking at everything, because I didn't want to look at Him. Within seconds, Sam reacted. I had almost forgotten that she was in the room with me - all I could feel was His presence. I watched as she threw an entire gallon of milk at the Man; it made contact with something, but I'm not sure if it was with Him or the walls of the hallway. The carton exploded, and milk was gushing into the air like a volcanic eruption, washing over the walls and the floor and probably over Him. When the milk settled, all I could see was His dark figure running out of the same door He came in, leaving it crashing against the wall. His feet were audibly slamming down on the sidewalk outside. Then, there was darkness.
My senses shut down completely after He disappeared from my sight. I was moving, but my mind was somewhere else. My sister grabbed me and basically dragged my confused body into our bedroom; she ordered me to get on the floor and she shoved me under our bed. From the floor, I could see her feet moving frantically around the room. Things were being moved and thrown, and she was breathing heavily. Finally, she grabbed something and ran to our window that looked out onto the street. I saw a flash and heard the snap and the print; she had taken a picture with our Polaroid. The picture fell to the floor just next to the bed, and I watched as it developed slowly. I could make out nothing in the picture but a black, beaten-up Volvo. It was as if I was looking at a still-framed picture from a movie, and that everything going on in that moment was fake; but the sound of a car peeling ferociously out of my driveway outside snapped me right back into reality, and I knew that it was Him. I was angry that He was able to drive away from the nightmare that he created, and that I had to stay.
Still under the bed, my body began to recover from the state of shock it was in, and I cried out for my sister. She grabbed my hands and pulled me out from under the bed and asked me if I was okay, and if I could tell her anything that I saw. I couldn't form the words to tell her about His eyes, about His hidden face, and about how slow He was walking towards me, an innocent child. All I could do was cry and I began begging her to call our parents. She carefully lead me back into the kitchen, where the door was still swung open and the milk was flooding over the floor. She picked up the phone and first called our Aunt who lived on the floor above us, explaining in short what happened and asking her to please come downstairs. She immediately came with her son, our cousin, who is the same age as Sam, and she offered to call our parents and the police for us. I stood in the room trying to tell everyone what I saw and what happened, but I kept telling them that it happened so fast and I couldn't see His entire face. "His eyes," I said. I repeated it dozens of times. I was shaking uncontrollably, and could not calm my breathing.
The rest of the night is a blur. Police officers were coming in and out of our home, asking questions that I couldn't even understand or comprehend. My parents came home and were panicking, my mother on the verge of tears. At some point, I laid down in my mother's bed and fell asleep - when I woke up in the middle of the night, my older sister was in the bed as well. Then, I laid there and listened to the sounds of the night - the crickets, the late-night commuters that drove by once in a while, and creaks and cracks of the floor. The sun eventually came up, and I was still awake, almost waiting for a new day and new feelings. However, the shock was still there, and it hung over my head and lingered around me like a ghost.
Within the following week after that night, four different homes were burglarized on our street. Finally, we received a call that the cops had caught the Man, and my parents hoped that it would bring some relief to my sister and I, who were sleeping in our parents' room every night since our break -in. It didn't. It left me feeling nothing except more fear; I constantly thought of Him returning to our home and finishing His "job." I sat in the bedroom, where I hid under the bed that night, and watched out the window for hours on end every day, waiting for His car to appear. But the worst feeling that I had was when I finally let myself wonder why He had come that night, and what His plan was. I pictured the things He would have done to me and my sister if I hadn't screamed and triggered my sister's reaction. Would He have raped me? Beat me? Kidnapped me? Killed me? The possibilities were endless because it was as if the story had no ending, and I had the option to write my own. I could not silence my imagination, or stop myself from thinking about what He was thinking about doing to me when He saw me in the doorway. It occurred to me that the look in His eyes was not fear, or confusion, or even rage -it was malicious intent. It haunted me for days, and then weeks, and soon enough, years.
12 years later, I have come to terms with the real-life nightmare that I experienced that night. I have accepted His presence in my life; He exists in the footsteps I hear late at night outside my house, the inexplainable noises that echo in the walls of my kitchen and living room and bedroom, and the pressure from the wind that causes my house to constantly move and settle at night. He has no name and no face in my head; the only thing that He has is eyes. His eyes watch me from the inside of my mind. He exists in my kitchen, as if a ghost in a haunted home. He exists in the disorders that He left me impaired with for the rest of my life. He exists everywhere around me. The only thing that's different about then and now is that I have learned to live with Him haunting my dreams, and my reality. I will always feel the fear - but it no longer paralyzes me. I suffered through the sleepless nights, and the nightmares when I actually did sleep; I dealt with the uncontrollable screams for help in the middle of the night when I was only dreaming. Now, all I have left to do is live; not without fear, but with fear and also understanding that there is a reason for everything. I have accepted the fact that I will never be able to separate myself from the memory or the terror that I have been subjected to living with, and to me, that is the first and biggest step that I needed to take.
You awaken in the cardboard box
That you refer to as your home
The dawn is barely breaking
And already you feel alone
A whore’s bath in a public restroom
Then you’re ready to start you day
Layers of stage makeup hide the wounds
Of the lead in this lack of morality play
First up is the sadistic businessman
He knows the drugs you need
But it comes with one condition
That he gets to see you bleed
With his one hand around your throat
And the other grabbing your breast
He takes whatever looks good
And leaves you with the rest
You straighten out your dress
And try to wipe yourself clean
You’re helped back to your feet
By a schoolboy of age seventeen
He's skipped his classes for the day
And borrowed his mother's van
Now he’ll gladly pay your fee
If you'll make him into a man
It’s all over before it begins
A symptom he can't control
You can barely feel it anyway
Numb in both body and soul
At night you meet your pimp
And give the devil his due
You willingly submit to him
As he runs you through
You retreat to the cardboard box
That you refer to as your home
The moon is heavy in the sky
And you can finally be alone
Your lips wrap around the pipe
The smoke molests your lungs
And slowly you begin to forget
The world that you came from
You once dreamt of a white knight
That would come and take you away
Now seen as only vestiges
Of a young girl’s naiveté
Dignity is a memory
An illusion from your past
Like pleasure or happiness
A feeling you could never grasp
You once thought you’d hit rock bottom
But there was so much further left to fall
You were filled with unknown fears
But now you’ve named them all
Add up the rocks they pay
As you break their last taboo
And the secrets that they share
When they’re deep inside of you
A normal person would go insane
But your body is no longer yours
Are you less than human now?
One of a thousand nameless whores
You wonder if they see a woman
Or just another object on her knees
You could show them who you really are
But that’s not what they pay you to be
She was a child once.
Eyes wide and sparkling with hopes and dreams untarnished.
An entire future stretching out before her.
She saw the world through a kaleidoscope,
A beautiful mess of endless neon colors,
Untouched by darkness and disappointment.
Pain was temporary; A scraped knee, a paper-cut.
Band-aids could heal every injury.
Her smile was a permanent fixture of sincerity,
Radiating happiness. A gaze full of inquisitive wonder.
When she lay her head down at night,
Her chest was not heavy with worries and cares.
Her mind was not filled with the ghosts of her past.
Sleep came easily, a quilt of comforting warmth enveloping her,
Sweeping her away to the land of dreams.
Blissful in her ignorance she lived, unaware that one day,
The monsters under her bed would make a home inside her head.
That her heart would fracture and die.
That the world she had known was a lie.
She wasted all her wishes wanting to be older,
Age was overrated, but nobody told her.
At 8 she was so innocent, at 10 she was just fine,
13 was disillusionment, the start of her decline.
At 15 she was in High School, they told her, "be mature".
Society screamed conformity, now she was insecure.
At 16 she was lonely, desperation took its hold.
Love slipped through her fingers like drops of liquid gold.
Now, at 17, she's stuck in a recession.
She thought the therapy had dispelled her depression.
She looks in the mirror and despises her reflection,
She is bent, bruised and broken, a mess of imperfection.
Past mistakes, her tormenters, they tear her apart.
Her body, a cage, imprisons her heart.
Each breath is a burden as she lay in bed.
She can't sleep at night, theres a war inside her head.
No one ever told her the price of growing older.
They never said she'd have
A crushing weight put on her shoulders.
Suffocating in this life, poisoned at her core,
Once she was a child,
A child she is no more.
Words vaguely hidden
inside a woman's heart.
has depth and camouflaged
feelings kept aside.
a noble man subsides,
chivalrous as given.
Kept thoughts and play blind.
Cold cloud we feel
are kept with out most intentions.
to free our souls wrapped from grief
and unwanted strings of tension
Obstacles we face
apprehensions we self drive;
Time is inevitably given,
through this pain we slide.
felt like lifes too long moments
in ill-fitting shoes,
knowing when I chose them
there'd be a price to pay;
suffering, losing sight of this truth
saw me tossed in waves that rolled deep
to a core that flinched with
each painful pace
en-route to breaking point.
my loss of poise palpable
as I fell into screaming resignation.
....Resolved to rise again
my fevered soul
kicks its shoes from burning feet,
soles prickled, tentative
against solid ground
till I stand
freedoms sweet sensation,
swollen in a cooling moment
of outside within.
Happy with the way things have turned
Though a hard fought race was given and earned.
Sacrifices was extended and considered to deepest horizons,
spawning towards, what we thought infinity captions.
Transpired over and over, as tomorrow is faced,
with grith and angst over as we were below, hoping,
for an ultimate turnaround with a minimal chance.
hoping for tidal shift towards satisfaction, hoping
to seek and and find ourselves waiting.
to catch every opportunity as we persist and fight,
stand up and understand, this constant quest called Life.
If you're tired of carrying such weight,
that droops your shoulders and skews your gait
That you feel numb from the pain of the past,
and every new problem leaves you aghast
If you think you're one of the condemned and shady,
because your troubles come and never leave,
listen to the story about this young lady,
and then thank me for what you shall receive
She comes from I know not where,
and she goes I know not when,
spell her name, I know not how,
and speak to her, I know not what
Be not deceived thou yet my friend,
for she does not hide what others conceal,
she lives her life like an open book,
and every page has something to reveal
But what makes her unique and what makes her rare,
is how she oscillates between fun and care,
she looks at black and white in the same color - red
and that, I guess, is enough said
You may think she is born of privilege,
but let me tell you that is not true,
she gets her share of joy and pain,
trust me, she's just like you
And just like you she's afraid of insects,
and ghosts and ghouls and all that stuff,
but unlike you she doesn't run away from fear,
and unlike you she's pretty tough
So next time you feel like it's too much to bear,
and you feel engulfed in fires,
just read this poem and once again,
think about the girl who inspires!