Your true color is dark gray, muddy, half devoid of substance as if it couldn’t be enough. Your halo is gray and tilted to one side and I saw cracks in your demeanor. For a while I looked at myself and saw some of you reflected as I slowly turned light gray from a pure white. Your color is dark gray, beautiful, but grimy and it brings me down and I wonder what it must feel like to carry that weight with you of pouring out uncontrollably as you hold on to fragments from when you fell to the floor and shattered. I am an act of self-love, in constant motion, and ever so willing to give the little pieces of light that I hold in my hands, but I can’t share that light if all you’ll do is obscure my path.
Today I smiled at the thought of deserts consuming entire cities.
It’s not up to you to fix what you did not break. It’s not up to you to chase what does not want to be followed nor to lose your peace for those with no peace in their hearts.
What you’re meant to do is to live well and freely without shackles imposed on you by others. You are meant to cut the threads connecting their words to your head so that you may think truly without their hidden agendas influencing your actions.
You don’t deserve a half-baked innocence.
From where enters your strength, your will to live? It reminded of how battered and bruised I have been. A memory of black clouds coming down onto me haunts my head and I had hoped that I had healed that trauma, but they asked me: where does that strength come from? There were no good answers to that question. Perhaps it was this ancestral DNA or my mother’s mitochondrial DNA that let me live though the struggle. How ungrateful I must seem, to have that survivor’s will and to hate the act of having to survive. She must look at me with disdain or maybe with pity at knowing that her scars are inscribed into my genetic makeup too.
Why have you stayed? I am asked this question, not in so many words. Sadly, no responses escape because I hold the gates tightly shut for fear of being seen as the fool. Who could have thought that this would be the woman striving to bear the fruits of my labor—so hindered by a simple soul?
Like me, never another one
I have learned this the hard way
They all seek me when I’m gone
But my mind they’ll never sway.
Like me, forever coming undone,
They ask me to always stay
But I’ll keep severing this bond
Come whatever may.
For me, they always turn to stone
As I go through my day to day
Because this goddess, they’ll never own
She will always keep these feelings at bay.
Deeper Into the Nothingness of this Cruel World
I saw you one day and you were kissing me and telling me of the undying love that you had for me. You had screamed my name and told me that you would never leave me and all of these declarations of love and commitment were made. We didn’t have a formal wedding, my family was very unnerved when we eloped and they disowned me. You told me that no one else mattered to you or to me as long as we had each other and I listened, like I had been taught to. I also believed everything you said and continued living my life, poor and simple, but happy.
One day you picked up your drink after going a week without work. I thought about how to console you, so I came towards you—attempts to kiss you were made by me, you pushed me away. “Leave me alone, I don’t want you near me right now, “ you screamed at me. In my throat, a rock the size of a baby’s fist was choking me—I left to cry in our bed, where I felt empty without those declarations of love and without the warmth of your body keeping me healthy. You slept on the couch that night because you could not stand to look at me and I asked you to come into bed. You took a beer and chugged it, picked up the TV remote and changed the channel.
I went for a walk that night and I thought to myself, he must be having such a rough time, so I got a job. I used to have hopes and dreams that I gave up for you, just like I was taught to. I was a woman of the 21st century and parents who would not let me curse raised me properly. I learned how to walk in heels two years before I met you, when I was 16. Every day after I got home from work you scoffed at me and complained at the “pigsty” we were living in—our happy home was spotless and our reflections were seen on the tile. I cleaned it for you, just you, that night.
You found a job that you said you hated. I became pregnant and when I broke the news to you, you slammed the counter and walked away. That night I cried heavily and I cursed this cruel universe for not allowing you to feel happiness. Two years later we had a healthy little boy who would scamper about and knew how to count to 20. He was my pride and joy; there wasn’t a single day in which you told him you loved him. Your drink was your new best friend and every time you would see me, your breath would get heavier.
One day I came home from work to find that you hadn’t fed our child who was crying nonstop at the pain in his little belly. You raped me afterwards as I screamed and cried and begged you to stop. I couldn’t get you off of me and I realized how much I hated you. Our child would hear the screams and he would scream too (the neighbors must have not been home). I couldn’t look at you after that day and when I got out of the shower I saw you watching TV with six beers on the night table. I hated you and averted you as much as I could, you said, “if you think about leaving tonight, I will kill you.” I began to cry furiously and you screamed at me to shut up, then you struck me. Our poor baby boy was in the doorway and I will never forget how his little eyes widened and hardened, his face became serious when previously he came to boast of his new drawing, which resembled nothing as he swore later that it was mommy and daddy and me at the park.
I went to work with a bruised eye and all of my female coworkers asked me what had happened, I told them that I fell down the stairs and I saw their condescending eyes as they knew what I was too ashamed to say. I stayed in that loveless relationship for years fearing for dear life every day, crying at night, watching our child lose all of his innocence. My baby boy was now 15 and one day as you were beating me he stepped in the middle and you struck him relentlessly. He fought so hard and I picked up a wineglass, but you picked it out of my hand and smashed it on my shoulder as a shard cut my face. The ladies at work didn’t ask why I was bruised up anymore, they didn’t ask about my gash and they didn’t even speak to me anymore. I was ashamed and I wanted to leave, but you swore that you would kill me and starve our boy. I was stuck and was sad and every day I hated you more and more. One day my baby boy came home with a gun that he had bought from some gangster on the street, but I didn’t know until it was too late.
You were drunk that night and you wanted me to succumb to you sexually, but I refused. You grabbed my wrists tightly and threw me on the bed as you tried to plant me rancid kisses of alcohol with your disgusting mouth and the arms that face that I hated. I spit at it and I felt powerful, but I knew it was a mistake because you began to punch my body, three times on the torso, and you slapped my face twice. My innocent boy yelled at you to get off of me and you told him to shut up and close the door—you repulsive drunkard, you abusive bastard. I writhed and begged my boy to leave the room, to not watch, I wanted him out of harm’s way but then… A gunshot… You lay still, the echo of the gun was sounding and I held my breath. Your heavy body fell on me for the last time and all I could think was, my boy, my poor innocent boy. I removed myself from his grasp and crawled towards my child, the pain in my chest from the punches and the headache from the slaps did not even hurt and I cried as I saw my beautiful son breaking down with shaky hands. “My child, my baby, what have you done?” I asked the empty air. He was motionless and I knew then that I had lost him, my child was dead and that killed me inside, outside, and everywhere in between.
The police entered and took my child; the pervert judge sentenced my child to thirty years in jail for the murder of his father and had the nerve to say that I provoked the “victim”. I was left to blame, I was not strong enough, but my boy was. Every day I visited him in jail and every day he told me how he did not regret his choices. I cried and prayed every night for the early release of my child.
This time everyone at work knew my story and they pitied me, but I didn’t care at all for them. I hated every one of them; I hated my neighbors who were home that day. I hated the society I lived in, for making the man the victim and my boy a killer. I hated everything save for my poor boy.
Three years into his sentence had passed. I couldn’t sleep that night. I had cold chills and nausea. Early in the morning I went to the prison to visit my child, but there was a commotion and when the guards rushed through, they came with the prison doctor and nurses—there had been a brawl. I felt light-headed and my chest felt tight. I felt as if I had been punched three times in the torso like that night, which changed our lives forever. I heard my baby boy’s name. There had been a brawl in which one of the prisoners had sneaked in a knife and stabbed in a young boy in the heart after he refused to give up his ration of soup. I never saw my boy again.