I used to wake up missing him, as if we didn’t spend almost every waking minute in each other’s presence. As if I didn’t hear his voice more than my own. “Your shadow doesn’t belong to you. I know where you’ve been.” “I have no reason to lie,” he would recite to me. That was our nightly tradition. I would watch him sit across from me at the dinner table, telling me that he never did mean to hurt me, with my heart on his plate. I packed ahead of time, and reorganized my regrets to make room for our relationship. I crumpled up the letter I wrote and put it in my back pocket. I couldn’t bring myself to explain why I had to leave him; my absence would be devastating enough.
He would make his fabrications fit into the palm of his hand and smack me with them. I was born and raised by the backhand of heartbreak so it was home away from home when I ran away to him. Instead of standing up for myself I wrote poetry so hot that I would burn his mouth every time I tried to feed him. He was a better cook anyway.
My grandmother, when I sought her wise council, told me that I should accept the pain and try to make something out of it.
I remember when I tried to make love out of my pain for the last time. He clawed my spirit out of me, put it under my head like a pillow. He laid on top of me, grinding into my pelvic bone, making heat that burned my skin. The bite marks on my chest stung when his sweat dripped on me. I closed my eyes and saw the manifestation of my fears. My body finally gave out after running from my ******, and he came when I did.
As he slept, I cleaned the blood from under his fingernails.