He didn’t open her door when she stood beside it, but only for a moment did she wait. She climbed in her seat there beside him, she seemed content and I thought of you… (Opening my door as I skillfully slid into my space next to you while you pulled out my seatbelt so graciously handing it to me)
They arrived at the restaurant, again she exited the truck, meeting him around the back where they made small talk heading to their destination and I thought of you… (I remained still, grinning as you walked over to my side once more, opening my door, offering your hand, I emerged as we made our way)
She stood outside the door looking at the sign, he said, “Allow me” as he grabbed the handle to the door, she stepped inside and I thought of you… (My hand never touched a door as long as I was with you)
They were seated, the menus presented and the question, “can I start you off with a drink” and I thought of you… (One menu was all that was required, my drink was chosen along with my meal, handled with care)
He picked up the check not a word was exchanged except when she offered to pay her share. He reached for his wallet thanking her, then stating he’d have to give up his man card while handing it off to the server without hesitation and I thought of you… (One of our first dates I noticed the price and you thanked me for being thoughtful then assured me it would be alright, the cost wasn’t an issue. I relaxed, feeling special)
She thanked him for treating her to a pleasant evening and wondered what to do next so they left out the door and she casually laced her hand through the bend in his arm and I thought of you… (Next to you I felt taken care of, protected and safe, looked after and thought, I felt loved)
There was the truck, the one they open their own doors for, the one they return home in, to the house they reside and I thought of you… (Again you pull open the door, buckle me in, my hand on your knee as it slides up your thigh, a peck on the cheek, with a twinkle in my eye. I thank you for a lovely evening, for treating me like your queen, I can hardly wait to get home to show you all the love in my heart)
He flips on the TV and she checks her phone. Divided by some walls, back to their own separate interests and distractions, it’s like the spark and the magic were left somewhere far behind and I thought of you… (We barely made inside with our hearts beating deeply, your hands all up in my hair, the door closes quickly as clothes fall to the floor)
She makes her way to the chilly room where she lays her head. At some point he will take his place beside her all cozied up in their bed. She’s fast asleep and he’s quiet while he slips between the sheets and I thought you… (We walk together down the darkened hallway to find that safe, familiar place, the warmth of your body comforts me while mine stirs up all your deepest desires)
They closed the door to the wonderful night without another word, he turned off the light, she rolled over, her back turned to him, now he lies there staring at the ceiling asking himself where have you been and I thought of you… (Engulfed in your arms I feel your hot breath, it smells like tequila, I smile to myself being pulled in closer, I don’t want to breathe if it means loosening your grip, I exhale, we are immersed, becoming just one, please don’t let me wake. I know you feel loved and I do too) and I thought of only you…
She asked, “is that from a song, or the name of one?” I smiled and only nodded, but when I said it, I was lost in thought. Confused by my lack of response, she ventured off in the other room, allowing me to be alone with my previous thoughts. There was something to be said for secrecy.
When I was a child, my best friend and I always seemed to have a secret to tell. We made a game out of whispering something in the others ear and then swearing that to secrecy as if someone’s life depended on it. Our pinkies crossed, we spit in our palms and shook as we saw the boys do. There, now we have a solid promise with double insurance.
What on earth did a couple of 8 year old little girls have to keep so private? I guess it was the first act of many that would prove the other trustworthy. It wasn’t that those secrets were so deadly, offensive or of trouble, but there was something in the process of swearing to God, the famous pinky promise and the disgusting exchange of slimy palms that just made it all so pensive.
Did we ever go back on our word? We shared a lot of those so called secrets over the years and I don’t recall any repercussions like my hand falling off, or my skin peeling away and we are still friends to this day, so I guess we shall never know, but can safely assume we did abide by that strict code.
I flash forward back to this present day and forget about the lyrics to that old song as I retrace those memories and wonder where they came from. What ignited the buried remembrances and why? Again I murmured under my breath this time, dirty little secrets, hoping to find the thread and rip it out.
My mind took control and before I knew it, together we were recapturing or more like trapping, the images that were replaying in my head. What do you want, I asked as if they had the ability to answer, but I waited nonetheless. No answer came and I was forced to watch what felt like a movie of my life playing only I wasn’t the star. Suddenly it had become clear what the fuck was going on.
I’ve lived a life this long and the story is so far from over yet for all this time, I have not been the leading lady starring in my own life. I got it, the message was clear. I am beginning to feel the cuffs are loosening, the chains are breaking and the bondage is slowly being freed…
I sat there on the couch, feet up, cuddled by the warmth of my favorite blanket watching nothing in particular on the tv, apparently it was for the background noise . The quietness outside competed with the sound of your car as you pulled into the drive. I took a semi deep breath and remained calm, both of which have been difficult to accomplish these days.
Typically you come by, with your usual demeanor, the inability to just be. I feel the energy coming at me before you enter the door, but this time you remained in your car. Curious as to what you were doing, I casually strolled past the window a time or two to take a glance, ah, you’re on the phone. This could be awhile, and it was. I took notice as I confirmed what had your attention. There was something different about you, but I’ll wait I thought. My intuition is pretty strong and my emotional intellect even higher. After all, you are my child, grown or not, I carried you in my body for 9 months. Little gets past me and even less surprises me.
Finally you made your way through the door and I was correct about your person although I wasn’t quite sure what it was, not yet. We got beyond the formalities of hi’s and hugs and found ourselves sitting now, a little awkwardly and I was eager to know why. Clearly you have a heavy heart, a burden you’re struggling to balance and even hold. You’d begin talking incessantly, this is never new to me, but there was a nervousness about you and I just listened. This has become our routine. You talk, I listen and soon it turns into a long threaded rant on nearly every topic from childhood to current time. Whew. Catch a wave pal, you’re drifting. I remain quiet, taking in what I can, paying attention to my own breath, facial expressions arms and body language. This child is working up to something heavy and deep as the words keep flying, but not much is being said.
There’s that moment when someone is trying desperately to unload something, but fear has stymied what is needing to be shared and so the conversation goes in circles and backtracks, then the trickles begin. The questions fly, do you remember when I was such and such and age and this and that happened? I’m trying to keep up, really focus on what’s being said or rather what’s being eluded to but not fully comprehending the message. I’m working on my patience. My unconditional love for this grown child pouring out from me while the fumbling keeps happening. This went on for 4 hours. God have mercy on this child and help the words just flow, please Lord.
At last the personal revelation and truth emerged from this poor child’s lips. I sit silently as I feel my shoulders relax and I grin, hoping my quiet response was loving and supportive. I nodded in agreement or maybe it was acceptance, but either way, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. At last we have a reason, the reason for all the peculiar, relentless, angry behavior that has consumed this child for nearly 25 years.
She hides behind her smile, her insides riddled with anxiety, her breath shortens while her chest is tight and yet you can’t fathom how deep her troubles run. She disguises it well from the outside world while she fights to get up and face another day.
This friend of yours shares a story with you, one where you aren’t sure if she’s referring to herself or something she’s read, but suddenly you realize, it is in fact her horrific experience. As you continue to politely listen, the shock and disbelief well up. The pain grows in her heart, the agony dims the light in her eyes and as you watch, her body physically changes. She speaks more words, you become uncomfortable and though you don’t mean to, you interrupt her flow with your concerned opinion. Suddenly she turns the faucet off, chokes back her tears and shuts back down. She is experiencing a trigger from a deep gaping wound. Voiceless again, she shoves that secret back down to where it lives.
You didn’t mean to create this reaction. How could you know that this friend standing in front of you has such inner turmoil erupting inside of her? She took a chance on you, trusting you to just hear her cries and take her seriously without judgement or condemnation. So often when she has a moment of bravery and courage to reach out, she does so with the hope of being heard, believed and understood. She hesitates, even retracts some of the information and begins trivializing it once more.
She didn’t “know better”. She struggles with confusion and retraces her steps over the years of abuse. How could she be so trusting, so naive, as she beats herself up now too, feeling so dumb. Over time, she disappeared, even to herself. The coercion and insidiousness of what had become her life, though a little more behind her, the pain engulfs her and she desperately fights to overcome. Her friends observe from their perspective., “She’s a survivor. She’s resilient. She’s strong”. You think you see her solutions and without meaning to, the accusations fly; “if she would just abc, xyz”. “This again?” “Are you still talking about HIM/that?!” These are the worst things you can say to her. All of your well intended thoughts would cause her to retreat back to her darkness where she resides with those secrets that whittle her away.
Never dismiss her need to keep talking. There’s more that keeps emerging with every passing day as she fights for the freedom of her soul. This isn’t one of those things she can keep ignoring and hope it dissipates on its own. No, the poison has to come out with the fear from her oppression. One day you will notice the light returning to her spirit and you’ll know she is healing. Meanwhile, hear her, hug her, just be there.
They have all loved her through the battles they can see, but can you with the ones invisible to you? Is it unconditional or based on her doing what makes you more at ease? She keeps wrestling with the lies she’s been told and the battles still to overcome, wondering if there’s truth to any of it. She is telling you in her own way of her broken spirit, her beaten body, her shame, her wounds, her hurt and her survival. What she doesn’t realize is, she’s truly revealing that she is a conqueror, but she has no idea, not yet. She is still coming out of the affects of his gas lighting leaving her to think maybe she is crazy, but she’s not.
There are days she believes what you dear friend tell her with your uplifting words, but when she needs to run the thread down to the core of its root, listen compassionately, respond with love, offer the gift of your presence and allow her the dignity to process and time she needs to get to the other side. The only way for her to get through it, is to go through it, one hour, one day at a time.
When she comes to you, her heart in her hands, be the light in her darkness and a dose of love because she is running on empty. In doing this, you have given her a gift she will cherish and it reminds her she has another fight left in her…