If we were quiet
Hot, wet tears streaming as the pine needles begin to dry up and fall. Tears from what your hands did. The way I shook and screamed. Screamed for my life, cowering within the four walls I grew up in.
That was not a home. You are not a home.
Twenty-nine and “so much to live for,” they say. But I retreat into the fetal position on mom’s warm flannel sheets in a feeble attempt to make it all go away. Like you did all those years ago. Maybe if I curl up tight enough, it will dissipate.
All I want now is peace.
Like the days that were seemingly good days. When we didn’t walk on eggshells while you were home — tiptoeing around so as not to disturb the beast that lie within you.
If we were quiet, we were safe.
When the smells of good food wafted through the house, that was a good day. Like on Sunday mornings us kids would wake to the smell of perfectly cooked chocolate chip pancakes, and dishes clanking in the kitchen. Those were good sounds. Those were good days. When my baby sister and I pranced around for photos in those matching dresses and hats pretending to be Scarlett O’Hara, those were great days.
But now, you are empty and your bad days bleed into mine. I try to resist, push them out, but I’m scrambling like in those nightmares I had as a child. I’m being chased, barefoot in a muddy dress and my feet are stuck to the ground, motionless. I keep looking behind in fear. Everything is dark green around me. I’m cold. You’re cold. I can’t move away fast enough from your dark cloud.
I feel trapped now, days without oxygen or the strength to take a full inhale.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.
This shouldn’t be so hard. Just being shouldn’t be so hard. Is this what being buried alive feels like? All that repressed emotion bubbling to the surface like boiling water in a pot. But instead of spilling over, it finds a home under my chest. A fiery pain I’m certain will never find another place to inhabit.
Scars are not just those physical things, beauty you accept when they caress a woman’s thighs, or a mother’s belly after she gives life. They seep into your very being. You wear them inside as a reminder of all the places you’ve been, all the things you’ve survived, with no one ever seeing how strong you really are.