Into the Darkness

Broken glass crunched underfoot as I opened the door to hell. I remember slamming it closed the last time I ran from here forever. The fragments of glass would have looked pretty had they not signified such devastation. The night outside whistled eerily through the smashed windows and even flicking on the lights didn’t eliminate the darkness that had descended there. Immediately I wished I’d stayed blind to the rooms. With each turn another specter from the past tormented my vision… as though each were relics of my pain, telling stories I’d sooner forget. My head refused to turn towards the couch, where the greatest ghost of my hurt radiated. I didn’t need to look, it was already burnt behind my eyelids on an endless loop. He’d dragged me there the night when I’d finally refused him, the night an angel came to me and opened my eyes. The night I refused to let him or any of his friends take me. The night he’d made me watch while they took another woman. The grunts of pleasure that came from them as he looked into my eyes with a sick smirk on his face whilst he fucked her. My punishment for disobeying him was doing what I’d always known he’d been doing all along, only this time right before my very eyes.

The doors to the veranda were wide open and the house was freezing cold, cooling the hot tears on my cheeks, and setting off a shiver through my body. I expected to find him tearing through the house with unchecked fury, so to find him naked and unconscious on the bed startled and unnerved me. This man, usually an imposing figure of power, who’d rather die than show a weakness, who callously took whatever he thought he deserved whether in life or business lay as fragile as a baby. His lips were dry and a white sheen replaced his usual tan skin. He didn’t move, his chest wasn’t falling and I lightly touched his forearm to find it cold. A jolt of panic shattered the ice I’d placed around my heart to protect me. And however cruel this man had been to me, there was something inside me, some moral awareness of another life… a life of a person who was once my friend, who’d once swept me away with his love. It had me climbing onto the bed and scrambling up his body to find any sign of life. I lowered my ear to his mouth to hear for breath and I cursed his drug of choice for doing this to him. His lips parted “Lili”, he croaked out my name. I shook him frantically knowing he was there but hoping maybe it would drag some sense into him. He lurched up startled, toppling me from the bed. I landed heavy, catching my cheek bone on a piece of an upturned antique vase on the way down. He followed after me in an attempt to catch me from my fall and only managed to cushion  my one knee from impact. I could feel my cheek swell already and one knee shoot fire where it hit the floor. He was still groggy so I rolled his crushing weight from me and noticed his body was ice. I pushed back his hair from his eyes and spoke to them. “Get up.” I commanded and luckily he roused enough for me to get him standing, I moved under his arm and let him lean on me. There was no way I would have managed to get his 6’2” frame of muscles against my slight 5’6” to the bathroom otherwise. I ran the water while he watched from his position on the floor with a look I’d never seen on his face before- gratitude, relief. I didn’t trust him, I wasn’t stupid but for now I was helping him purely as one human being to another.
He used the counter to raise, stripping his body of the bed sheet I’d given him and sinking into the foam. I turned away to give him privacy and spotted something that made my anger ignite. My mirror lay on the counter-top accompanied by some lines and a razor blade. A straw he’d taken from one of my juice boxes sat sinisterly beside.
My furious eyes flew to his and he actually had the nerve to look like a frightened little schoolboy who’d been caught flinging rubbers. So, I flushed the lot, brushed it all off the mirror into the porcelain bowl and threw in the little bags after it. I looked back around and expected anger but instead found him contrite. This infuriated me so much more, so I left him to finish alone while I tidied the house.
He’s been living in the fast lane for so long it’s finally caught up with him. But instead of feeling sympathy part of me wanted to slap him. I busy myself with cleaning so I don’t have to think, I flick on the television as background noise and a food commercial reminds me that I’m hungry, in fact beyond. He appears from the bedroom still looking awful, he attempts to stroke my bruising cheek but I brush him off. So he stretches out on the couch instead.
“Sit with me Lili”, he whispers and I refuse him, instead rooting through the cupboards in search of food. When I only find one soup tin I almost throw it at him. Why doesn’t anyone eat?
“I won’t try anything, I just need to talk”, he says patting the cushion beside him.
“So talk”, I say and stay exactly where I am.
He brushes a hand through his hair, removing some from his eyes, he looks at me sincerely. He says one word and only one then eventually drifts off to sleep, “sorry.”

I hate being in this house it always brings my insecurities back. I start getting suspicious that my friends all have ulterior motives and don’t like me for the person I am inside. I’m not naive enough not to see the fact that being in such a toxic relationship has taken it’s toll, being seen as a trophy instead of who you are inside makes you question the validity of everyone you meet. I drop an armful of duvets on the sofa and even though this is “the scene of the crime” so to speak, the alternative would be sleeping beside my husband. I’m so worn out I feel like a pair of jeans that’s been through the ringer one too many times and it’s left me faded. But sleep never comes, robbing me of my one outlet of escape. By the time everyone should rightfully be asleep I’m up, hugging my knees against the cold blowing in from the broken windows and searching for answers.
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