When my father showed me just how rough a man can be with his fists, I wish I had listened sooner. Maybe then I wouldn’t have waited twenty years to finally stop living as a victim, to meet someone who would effortlessly show me just how soft the world can be. Bonjour, tristesse, you had whispered. You don’t have to smile if you don’t want to. Don’t be a marionette to the system. You are not the sum of all the wrong that has been ****** upon you. I never want to hear you say you’re sorry. Blue eyes, boyish features. Highlighted by a tenderness only a woman can possess. You’re as pretty as you are handsome. Cigarette on your lips, a vision of a rebel who spills compassion like wine. You planted something in me that continues to thrive long after you have left You used your bare hands, soft as they were, and I could tell from the start that they were going to be strong enough to pin me down when I needed it. I used to walk around baring a sign that read "handle with care" but I wanted to feel everything with you. And when I wanted you to be gentle, every day was Sunday morning. My body was a pyromaniac’s playground and you were the first one to stand over me and never hold a match. You have tamed my violence and in its place, ignited something that burns bright but slow Brightest when the Earth is dulled by winters, Slow when the sun is draped by the velvet blanket of night. I am a child again, sitting around a campfire, the stars are bright. I can count the times I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room on one hand. His hands have never tainted my body. I don’t utter the words "I’m sorry" every time someone asks me to introduce myself I have known warmth, I will continue to know warmth.