Epilogue

If this paper, mind you, screen, is, or was a mere second ago, blank, it’s because there’s a certain limitation to human language, and your brain thinks that’s about the farthest edge of it. What happens to you, what you experience, does it even count if it doesn’t defy words? You’ve wandered the globe, always seeking just the newest, the most bizarre, freak show. You end up in a carnival tent; you’re the freak. Do you even mind it the least bit?

Your friends say, see a doctor. “I know your liver doesn’t yet hurt for all the drinking; I know your lungs have grown tighter, perhaps a lot darker; I know your heart only aches for trouble.” They say, Please. See a doctor. “I know you’ve accustomed yourself to a survival battle of your own design. I know sins of the mind have more or less become habitual. I know you’d choose to cry, and bleed, and go fucking insane over the emptiness that is stillness.” See a doctor. Please. Fix yourself.

But let us not talk about fixing, or the underlying promise to exorcize the self destruction out of you. Tell me, how often have you stared into someone’s eyes and saw nothing but an abyss, and sought them for it nonetheless? Sought them, not for any petty moments of fulfillment; sought them because the vacuum draws you in just like a black hole would the sun. (But can you blame the sun?) And you reciprocate their nothingness with affection, so that if, if you do one day see the light, a light, any light, a flickering thing so weak your breath could blow away, then oh what victory! What marvellous marvellous triumph of the self.

But I digress. None of the words already written is what I want to write. I want to write about last night, and the sleepless attempts at rationalization, and the sickening need to not only find sense but create it. The reconciliations with fresh violations and the struggles deemed worthy only because they’re too much. I want to romanticize cruelties that I don’t deserve and conclusions drawn in hasty whispers across unfamiliar skin.

Beauty is the unfairest agent of them all, is it not? I’ve watched it drip with malice and wanted to slurp every last bit and ask for more. What unperceptive idiot thought darkness can only ever come with horns? And are we not easily deluded children, to despise the vulgar and share a bed with the graceful?

Tell me, what atrocities have you had to bear to get into their bed? Tell me, did you like bearing them? And if it sucks the air out of your chest now to admit it, would you say you stayed, more for the atrocities, than for the bed?

But in the tangled web of compromised free will and threats both laid in the open and creeping out of denials, of distress so sweet it hurts and an utter lack of empathy that makes curious muscles tense and nerve endings tingle, I am tampered with. I’m infatuated. I’m damn near frightened. I’m alive. And his body is warm and his eyes are cold and his words sting and burn and he’s fascinating and he’s fucking beautiful. And so help me god my mother hasn’t raised me a coward, so I won’t run.

So don’t run, okay? Even when you’re dangerous, even if I’m dangerous. Even if we look at each other and see nothing but disorders. Don’t walk away before you’ve given me enough, and taken enough, bruised enough and played enough. Don’t walk away until all is said and done and I’ve soaked in you, broke for you, fell and rose, fell and rose, fell and rose, and absorbed all your colors, and then survived you.

Or not.

So don’t run, okay?

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علبة شوكولاتة

أول ما قابلت الناس اللي معايا في الشغل الجديد كنت فعلياً مش طايقه وشهم. الهزار السيكسيست وسلوك المتدينين المقيت بتاع “هوليير-زان-زاو”* وإحنا شعب الله المختار . مكنتش متخيله إزاي هضطر أتعامل مع الناس ديه شبه يومياً، وإزاي 12 ساعه من يومي هقضيهم مع ناس مختلفين عني قوى كده.

كنا في رمضان وكنت تقريباً بفطر قدامهم كل يوم. محدش سألني أو بصلي بإستغراب. الموضوع كان مريب شوية بس ما علينا. بعد أول أسبوعين بقينا بنضطر نتعامل مع بعض كتير. بريزينتيشانس و أرت بروجيكتس. فاكره أول مره هزرت مع واحد فيهم على ال التيم-لييدر بتاعتنا. ومن ساعتها كل ما تعمل حاجة عبيطه نبص لبعض ونبتسم.

بنقعد على الأرض ونتناقش هنقدم الموضوع إزاي، وأحيانا كتير برسملهم. فاكره اول مره برضو بنت قالتلي تعالي معانا فى التيم عشان انا بحب أفكارك. البنت لطيفة وضحكتها حلوه. واكتشفت إن أغلب البنات جايين من محافظات وعايشين لوحدهم هنا. وأنهم تقريباً استقلوا عن أهلهم بقالهم سنين، حاجه انا لسه مش مستعدة نفسياً اعملها.

في الأسبوع الأخير ده إتعاملت معاهم شخصياً واحد واحد. واحد منهم موبايله رن ب “ديسباسيتو” كذا مره ورا بعض. انا ضحكت وقلتله بحب الأسباني. قالي انا بحب الموسيقى بس طلعان عيني بسبب الرينج تون ديه. “انا مش مقتنع إن الموسيقى حرام بس صحابي كلهم كده. إزاي أزهري وبتسمع الحاجات ديه؟ فيه حاجات لسه بدري عليهم لما يقبلوها. إنتِ عارفه إن رفاعه الطهطاوي يبقى جد جدي؟”

بقول كلمات إنجليزي في النص أغلبهم مبيفهموهاش، بس هما بيكلموا ألماني احسن مني. في إثنين جم قالولي إكلمي معانا إنجليزي عشان نتدرب. واحد منهم أول ما شفته مكنتش مستحمله اتبادل معاه كلمه. جدته ماتت من أسبوعين، ومن ساعتها وهو هادي. إمبارح قالي،
“Make tea with this water. It’s better, right? Because it’s filter.”
“Filtered?”
“Filtered.”

اه، و الولد بتاع المنصورة. لهجته تدي على سوري وملامحه جميلة فشخ. بيناكف في كل الناس وبعد كده يقولهم انا اسف لو زعلتك. خفيف ووجوده يشرح القلب وفيه بواقى طفولة مش منفره تماماً. بحب أبص عليه، واسمعه بيدندن، وهو بيحب ينكشني وانا في حالي.

فيه 5 قطط لسه مولودين عايشين في الجنينه بره مبنى الشغل. البنات بيلعبوا معاهم حتى لو خايفين منهم. واحده منهم مره قالتلي عايزه اجيلك البيت مخصوص عشان العب مع زعتر. بتلبس خمار وعباية ووشها زي القمر. وبتقول “شيت” لما الدنيا تبوظ منها. مره سألتها قبل ما أولع سيجارة إن كانت بتضايق من الدخان. إتخضت لثانية، بعد كده قالتلي لأ، بس صحتك يعني. قلتلها ربنا يسهل وضحكنا.

فاكره مره واحده من البنات كانت بتتكلم مع الولد اللي بيأمهم في الصلاه وبيخطب فيهم كل جمعة. كانت بتقوله أنها قرت “حوار مع صديقي الملحد” وإنه كتاب مهم قوى. قالها من غير مايفكر إن الكتاب سطحي ومبيجاوبش على حاجه.
“انا بحترم الملحد جداً على فكرة.”
“ليه؟!”
“عشان شجاع.”
بحاول الاقيه من ساعتها على فيسبوك. مش عايزه أكلم معاه، بس عايزه اشوف هيكون فين كمان تلات سنين.

يمكن اللي مخلي التجربة ديه راديكاليه قوى بالنسبه لي، اني بقالي حوالي تلات سنين بختار الناس اللي هتكون حواليا بمقاييسي، مش بجبر نفسى أتعامل مع دواير مختلفة، ولو إتعاملت بيبقى بشكل محدود ميسمحليش ولا يتطلب مني أي درجه من القرب. انا نوعاً ما مبسوطة اني مقابلتش ناس شبهي، عشان على الرغم من سهولة الحوار اللي كان هيكون ما بينا، معتقدش إن التجربة كانت هتقدملي حاجة جديده، و حزينة اني مش هفضل في الشغل ده كفايه عشان اعرف واشوف اكتر، وعشان نظرتي تبقى أقل سطحية.

مش متخيله إني أعرف أكون صداقة حقيقية مع حد منهم. ومش ناوية أجيب سيرة حريات شخصية أو ليبرالية والذى منه عشان الجدال هيزعلني. عارفه انهم لسه سيكسيست و سيلف-رايتشوس ولسه مفيش بينا أرض مشتركة. بس مش مهم. انا ممتنه لكل لمحة إنسانية شفتها في حد فيهم كنت فاكره إني مستحيل أقبله. لسه منبهرة بالطبيعة البشرية ومدى تعقيدها وكمية الألوان والتناقضات والخفايا اللي جوا كل واحد فينا. وبيتأكدلي كل يوم إن، في أغلب الأوقات، سهل قوى تلاقي قناه وصل بين أي طرفين مختلفين لو سبتلهم بس الوقت الكافي إنهم يتلاقوا.
___________________________________
*Holier-than-thou

Fig Leaves

Don’t try this at home.

Don’t. You run across a kindred soul like yours in virtual space. You recognize them because it takes one to know one and you’re just that. You play with words, pour your heart’s contents for them but only in metaphors. You’re careful. You remind yourself always: self preservation first and foremost. But you’re also an adrenaline junkie. Not the kind to jump off a cliff; the kind to reach out for the sun when your wings are all wax and plastered feathers. You flirt with thoughts of self-annihilation: the type where your heart beats all the faster, not altogether stop. Because fact is, you never really want to burn. You only want the sweat.

Don’t. You see the humanity in those who are godly; then you look closer, and you see God in their humanity. You think you want to embrace both as something of your own, a souvenir of authenticity and rawness. You let yourself be fascinated because you’re past all delusions of perfection, and now the subtlest curve of her body is a cosmic miracle; and the way he zips up his jeans is an erotic dream. And you, you are more than yourself.

Don’t. You breathe new air and thank your lucky stars for being where you are now. Everything that has ever happened has happened for a reason, ended for a reason, brought you here. You don’t want to rationalize it; you only appreciate it: the changes, the passage, their good and their evil. All is forgiven. You’re forgiven. You’re strong and mighty and full to the rim with the world. Experiences are your drug of choice. You collect the memories and write them down so you won’t ever again forget. And you kiss the tips of her fingers and chase his eyes across the room. You hide behind a wall and fuck each other’s demons, make peace, smoke a cigarette.

Don’t. You’re the best thing that ever happened to you. You snort another line and get a pat on the head. You smile, you tear up, awareness courses through your blood, you join hands with warmth and wrap arms around her waist. It’s almost midnight and Cinderella has to rush home minus one missing custom-fit glass shoe. You secretly hope they have lost something of theirs among something of yours too, that, somewhere along the way, they’ll come knocking: the prince, the godmother, the fantasy. Maybe. Maybe once every blue moon, maybe never. You don’t worry. Good things will happen when they happen as long as you keep on moving. Your door remains ajar.

Don’t stay where you are.

That One Last Prophecy That Almost Fulfilled Itself

Fragmentation is a nasty habit, I know. But you see, doctor Gregory, I’m a firm believer in the overall absurdity of big pictures and greater goods. Neither of the aforementioned minds the details, because that’s where the devil resides, they say. I say, fuck the near and the far future alike. Fuck that one thing that requires just that other one thing to function, and fuck happiness that demands misery to persist. I understand that we, regrettably, are adults. And as adults it has been forbidden us carefreedom, or the right to grieve at the lack thereof. I refuse to abide by the social contract that obliges me to always bear. Henceforth I, too, don’t find martyrdom attractive, nor do I wish at any point for myself or others to view me as the hero I know I’m not. This savior is nonexistent because this savior desires only to live carefully, selfishly, and self indulgently. I suppose I could claim the moral high ground and assume courage in admitting that a life well lived is not necessarily a life reflected on one, or several, profound purpose(s). But let us not brand my words with absolutism, for I know, the details, and the devil, are my friends, and the universe is wicked beyond reason, and purposes are times too many thrusted upon us and clinging. I realize also that we, creatures cursed with intelligence, are always and evermore threatened by one another, and by ourselves. And for that I have no solution and against that no protection. But you understand me, doctor Gregory, when I say, I’ll point the blame wherever the fuck I please, and if that is my chest, or should it be yours, then so be it.

A Temporary Truth, a Temporary Truce

I’m trying to write the pain away.

Disclaimer: Nothing is permanent. Best case scenario, death does us part. Worst case scenario, time does.

Confession: This is unfathomable. Obscene. Outrageous. I’m completely and utterly furious. I think of you every time I light up a cigarette. And every time I throw one away.

Introduction: It’s mildly amusing how I can’t seem to get a grip. This loss of control triggers scandalous levels of anxiety. And if you know me enough you’d know. You’d know the ebbs and flows of need, the fluctuations of extremities, you’d know how the moon changes, and how my heart seamlessly does.

Message: I am sorry you’re aching, like I am. I’m not sorry you’re aching like I am. If anything, let us always suffer in tandem and break free in sync. And may you only fly away when I need to breathe. And may I only run for the hills when you crave space.

Author’s Note: This dissection is not an attempt to reminisce by a manipulative selective memory. Said memory is not the villain. It’s all us. We did this. We created the beauty and demanded that it be preserved. It’s so cruel.

Conclusion: The worst part is that I never need to polish you because you come as you are. And you, as you are, elate me, and it burns my cheeks with shame that I let you. (But, and this is the secret of secrets, I like it.)

Acknowledgement: My ego is very grateful, my skin, my mind palace. Not my heart. My heart is bent out of shape and violent. How dare you?

References: You, cheeky bastard.

Humanity: Au Revoir

We did it for the eternal youth, not the immortality. Who wants immortality anyway when we’ve been discussing our eventual joint suicide for years now. I remember sitting on the porch with her, hands clasped together and a glimmer in the eyes, and we spoke of all we were bound to miss.

“The sun?”
“Eh, I never really liked it. Too bright and too full of itself. Made me nauseous 3 times out of 5.”
“And sunsets are overrated.”
“Sunsets are beautiful, but only in the manner a painting is beautiful. There’s nothing of it to grasp with your fingers. Might as well watch it on YouTube.”
“Once my kindergarten teacher told me: you can touch the sun if you dip your fists in the ocean the precise moments it sets.”
“That’s both romantic and idiotic.”
“It’s something. I think I’ll miss the beach.”
“I’ll miss how its rays reflect off of your hair, leave it golden.”
“The effect can be mimicked artificially.”
“Not the same. Not as ephemeral. It’s magical because it fleets.”
“We can worship the full moon instead. The cycle gives us what, two days? It’ll part us too soon; we’ll ache for it.”
“And we like aching.”

So that settles that.

She shifted her feet beneath her, bare and tiny and out of sight. I thought of ache and sucked my lower lip through my teeth, focused for 2 minutes of silence on the gentle motion of our chests, rhythmically rising and ebbing. Living was a curious thing.

“Breathing?” I asked.
“Mechanics. Air doesn’t taste like anything.”
We paused to put this to the test. Sucked in oxygen in tandem. I visualized her lungs expanding to capacity and then evacuating, pink and fresh and slightly, just slightly, laced with tar.
“Smoking!”
“I’ll miss smoking.”
“The conscious destruction of it, never the nicotine.”
“Never the nicotine.”
She fell silent, gaze rising up to a tree nearby. She thought of organisms sustaining a monotone purposeless life until inevitable decay. I know because I thought it too.

“Feels obscene, betraying the natural order of things like that.”
“Aging, a life vanquished untimely, vanishing. The natural order of things offends me.”
“You think yourself too significant.”
“I am. The universe revolves around me. Until it doesn’t.”
“Death, a choice, rather than an obligatory destination.”
“Will you miss it, the fragility of our biology?”
She seemed to ponder on this one a little. People like to think of death as the ultimate life force. Fight or flight. Adrenaline. Survival instinct. Would our stupid bodies realize they are damn near invincible, stop rushing blood to our limbs because danger is no longer dangerous?

“No.” She said.
“No.” I thought.

“Flavors. Food. Vodka.”
Her eyes lit up, “Weed. Psychedelics. Intravenous opiates.”
I licked my lips, “Do you remember our covenant to start shooting up morphine before we kill ourselves?”
“It gave me something to look forward to.”
“And now we may go an entire eternity without ever knowing how it feels.”
She stared at me, wrinkled her nose in an exaggerated expression of woe. Who knew humanity had so much to offer and so little of it to do responsibly?

“Do you regret the things we didn’t?”
“One cannot tell where we would have ended up if we did. Here isn’t so bad.”
She exhaled; I squeezed her hand tighter. It occurred to me to ask her if morality concerned her. The words flirted with my tongue and faded prematurely. It’s a question for another day.

But we haven’t once spoken of everything there is to gain. Cynics don’t. And here, a purgatory between two worlds where all choices lay ahead, inviting, exhilarating, terrifying, wasn’t so bad. Wasn’t so bad at all.

Herr im Himmel

Tears are peculiar things.

Like my cat, they never yield when you chase them. They slither their way into your bed, your head, your heart, only when you seek deviation. Do tears huddle in your chest, settle there a while, wait for you to breathe them in, breathe them out, acknowledge and atone for them, before they climb up your throat? Warm like you, elusive like you. Somehow somewhere, perhaps, parts of you have conspired to wreck you, exchanged hushed words of your frailties, knew where to poke. So deliberate, loved one; when you know yourself most, you hurt yourself most.

On what we’re mourning, we might both disagree. It’s a claim we won’t make: no one takes pride in losing. But I come now, with my easy words and the pictures from before, and I have it in me to miss, and ache, and need: offerings for endowments I can’t repay. And you’re the sea, darling, Poseidon, so much for my so little. Your waves are promises and threats, to take away, to drag down. To swim through your storms with worn out arms and drained lungs. It was to either drown in you or spill tears at your shores.

And I’m spilling.

The Lamb of God

image

There’s a certain brand of knowledge you can only attribute to experience. And in that sense, among others, Will Graham knows about suffering. Will Graham is also drunk tonight, because rarely does lucidity offer, or allow, anything the slightest bit close to reprieve. He’s being told he belongs, and the concept is foreign to him, and he finds himself longing for the heavy accent and the assured voice to brush the words against his ear until they are birthed into facts, and Will is aware he’s inviting this, allowing manipulation, because otherwise what grounds are there to stand on? But the voice remains at a safe distance and Will asks, pleads, for another drink. He is saying something incoherent about this either being a full consumption or it’s more whiskey. He’s not given it. And his limbs are too heavy to actualize the need and the guilt burns, burns, burns, and he’s not above begging. He’s being told he’s devastating and Will feels devastated and he dully wonders if he can simultaneously be both. There are eyes on him, and a presence too close and too imposing he’s squirming beneath it, and he feels penetrated, folds of his brain contracting and tightening around an intruder. He wants to vocalize this, his lack of consent and a “please don’t” and a “No.” He doesn’t, and he notes with some detachment that the longer he keeps his own voice muted, the more the voice in his head sounds like him. He asks, and there’s futility in this defiance, he knows, but he asks anyway, “Is it free will, Hannibal, if my consciousness becomes an extension of yours?” It’s drowsy, his syllables are stuttered, and Will thinks it’s undignifying, but the pupils focused on him are still fond. There’s something imitating a smile, and then there’s a hand on the back of his neck, and the touch feels strategic, like a chess piece moved with intent, with an agenda, and Will is losing his pawns. There’s some form of pleasure to this loss; he feels it resonating in his blood and he’s aware he’s being told, not in words, but in skin contact, that he’s denying himself a truth. There’s a promise there too to fulfill it, and Will is reduced into want, want, want. It is coursing through him like a virus and he feels an overwhelming urge to speak to drown it. His eyelids are draping over a warm wetness and he’s being asked a question; it’s whispered somewhere over strands of hair and he feels it vibrating, engulfing his head as if a suffocating embrace and Will needs to breathe, needs to reestablish some sort of conception of self before the whole notion is drained from him. There is an interrogation going up there, in the parts of him that can still function, and Will is saying things, and he knows, on some instinctive level, that he shouldn’t be indulging this, or that he should be indulging it all the way. He’s being told of choices, of liberation, of a loss turned victory and celebrated, nurtured, accepted. He leans closer, because where else would he go? And his mind is a fog and every thought is a reflection of something that isn’t his. He’s so thoroughly infiltrated, opened up and taken apart, every piece of him rearranged. He’s something pleasant now, something other. It’s not sinking in. So he sinks in. Aching face buried in the shoulder beside him and he’s heaving another plea against soft fabric, and it hurts, it hurts all over. The voice tells him to transcend the crucified Christ into an existence beyond Heaven and Hell and original sins. And Will is biting into the skin beneath him because that’s apparently what you do when you’re leaned against Satan’s shoulder, and he thinks he’s drunk, it’s retaliatory and it’s juvenile, and it’s stupid, so stupid; he can’t stop. There’s a tightening around his neck and the hand still resting there is guiding his head up with minimal force, and he pulls up with minimal resistance, and he looks feral, he knows, lips parted, showing teeth, and there’s an unfolding of a smile that greets him, something of pride and approval, and Will feels it wash over him like an addiction momentarily sated.

Next time he reaches for the whiskey, Will knows, not now, but, eventually, he knows, he’ll reach for it instead.

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Art belongs to @lorandesore

Das Feuer liebt mich

-“There has always been an underlined caution to everything I do. I’m… ironically too wary of the butterfly effect.”
-“Sounds unfair, to hold yourself accountable for what you can’t possibly predict. Cause and effect don’t necessarily pertain responsibility.”
The air remained hot and heavy, clinged to their skin like blind bugs. Denzel would have pulled his shirt off if he hasn’t an hour ago. Whatever remained was flesh and blood and a thin sheen of sweat that he wore like a second garment.
-“I’m not concerned with judgment.” He told him, eyes squinting and darting to the horizon in a frantic search for something, anything, “Or fairness.” He added, and it sounded like spitting, like the very word offended him.
-“What are you concerned with?”
-“Chain reactions.”
He hummed the response indifferently. In his defense, he never sounded particularly concerned with the things he claimed concerned him.
-“Well then you’re only as responsible as the person before you was and as the person after you shall be. You’re aware, Denzel, we don’t know who started this.
Denzel snorted. He breathed through the heat and felt a rising burn in his throat threatening to overtake his vision. He spoke to distract it, “By ‘this’ I’m assuming you mean ‘life,’ because we most definitely know who started that.
-“Biggest chain reaction of all, huh?”

-“I’m thirsty.” The child hissed, voice loaded with a desperation Denzel knew he could identify with. His companion soothed, “We’re almost there. Just a bit more.”

It was a blatant lie, one that tugged on his chest and pulled where it hurt and he found it crude, vulgar… the outright deciet of it. Man lied and titled it a kindness since man knew how to use words. He thought it oddly provoking, how chivalry always seemed to walk hand in hand with hypocrisy.
-“How many hours do you suppose we have left?”
-“Before what?”
-“Death.”
-“What the fuck, Denzel?”
The child snapped her head up to them, her shadow laid before her, taller, less frightened. It will probably survive; it always does.
Denzel wanted to punch the mortified scolding expression on his companion’s face, neutralize it into something with the slightest resemblance to acceptance. It’s the only grace they had left.

“Momma taught me a prayer.” The child told them, edging on tears, and she made an attempt at reaching for Denzel’s hand. He recoiled from the touch violently. And if he had the words, if he did, he would have explained that bile gathered at the back of his throat and he tasted acid. Instead, he bent at the knees and clutched on his neck, retching and spitting whatever sustenance his body still thought to preserve. It wasn’t much.

Not graceful, no. But less demeaning than prayer.

His companion, nonetheless, dragged the child aside, knelt to face her, and with trembling lips and an intense yearning, a pitiful sparkle of hope in big tired eyes, whispered, “What Momma taught you, let’s recite it together.”

They did.

And Denzel caught himself foreseeing salvation.

Toxicants

Evaluating the intensity of one’s feelings towards an emotional prospect is an unnerving process. This is it. This is where the horrendous truth of your gradual fading into someone else surfaces and strikes your denial in the nose. This is the moment.
In regular circumstances, the realisation does, and should, scare you shitless, but for me, and owing to my lack of cognizance at the time, I wasn’t scared enough.

I was smitten and I saw cartoonish stars that promised security, bliss, and good things. In my defense, there were no signs to ignore, all the red flags were dressed in white inviting attires demanding me, kindly, to give in. There is safeness, salvation, shelter; this is everything you’ve ever wanted.

The charming demon’s lips dripped of honey and poison. The poison tasted as sweet. I loved it all. There wasn’t a single element that aggravated me, and, had I been wiser, I would have found it suspicious. But the magic was blinding.

I think optimism is childish. I also think that the first grave disappointment of said optimism marks the death of said child. This is the story of how my childhood died.

We met on an angry Thursday. I call it angry because I always thought the sky mirrored God’s mood.
“Then God is always angry in England.” He giggled, when I once shared the above ‘theory’ out loud. I stared at him with nuisance. Cruelty made me physically sick. And ridiculing one’s naiveté was cruel.
“There are many gods, sweetheart, you think? Ones for coast cities, ones for the countryside, and others for Antarctica?”
“Maybe.”
“And do we pray to them all, or only the ones above our heads?”
“…I don’t know.”
“Do they visit and socialise? Do you think the clouds are so grim today because our God is lonely?”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“What do you think, baby girl?”
I thought I didn’t love him anymore, but only for a fleet second. For the following days, I just didn’t love myself.

It would be unfair to solely blame my self-loathing on him. The weekly visits had the capacity to damage only those prone to damage. Desperate dreamy children make good victims. My mother insists I should have “at least said something,” but a child’s brain is too small, too pure, for big academia concepts like emotional abuse, and it seemed, at least for a while, that knights could do no wrong; only little princesses were stupid, only little princesses were unworthy.

I haven’t seen my father in 4 years. I don’t wish to. But today I spend the morning with a lover. The sky is still angry. His poison is still sweet. I’m still waiting for the horrendous truth to strike me in the nose.