There’s a reason I can’t sleep through the night anymore—without your hands here to hold me, I’m afraid of everything.

Without you next to me, the world suddenly became dark. I learned how to find solitude in the darkness. It understands me better than the sunshine does, at least for now.

I have dreams of ripping open my chest and watching the colors inside of me cast upon the white wall I seem to endlessly stare towards. You always come along with a grin and cover me up with a black blanket—I could always count on you to dim my sparkle and make me more melancholy than I ever knew to be possible. Sugar and tar never seem to mix. Love and hate never seem to, either. Light doesn’t belong with darkness, and you’re the one who showed me that. Metaphors look good on paper, but realistically, they emerge as abominable reminders of how innocent I once was before you.

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You’re haunting me. You’re not here anymore, but I can still feel your blood-covered hands on me. You are my former safe place – my protection. The familiarity dissipated, as it always seems to, and now I feel suffocated by your grip despite not seeing your face in months. It’s burnt into my brain anyways—you never seem to forget the first thing to scar you so deeply. It traumatizes you so much that you began to name your nightmares after it. Perhaps that’s the reason I seem to speak your name so much in my sleep. 

You’re hurting me. You’ve moved on—so have I—but that doesn’t stop you from making me a human canvas of the harmful intention you’ve always had for me. You must have been intimidated by the bright colors you initially painted onto me and needed to add a touch of authenticity to your work. I never understood where the bruises that appear on me in the morning come from; it must be your way of reminding me that no matter how hard I try, I will always be tainted by you. 

It hurt so much to love you. It hurts more to attempt to convince myself I never did at all. Some may say it’s a double-edged sword; some may say it’s the beauty of heartbreak. I suppose it doesn’t matter what it is; it’s stabbed into my ribcage either way because you always have to get the last laugh. You have to remind me that you were once here, that you always will be. It was so like you to make sure you pierced both sides of me—I’m unable to hide that type of damage from anyone, even myself. You always made sure to watch the blood trickle down my skin to know you had power over me, but I didn’t need wounds to know that. 

 

When I searched for the explanation you could never seem to give me from others, I laughed at the irony included in ”Stockholm Syndrome.” I, an advocate against narcissistic abuse, fell victim to the things I so often warn others of. I laughed at the deception I caused myself all this time. Red flags look like green when you’re in love, don’t they? It’s almost like you were destined to destroy me. I was so unaware of the poison you had seeping in your veins that I tricked myself into thinking it was magical. I hated who I was when I was with you. I hate how I’m not myself when I’m not around you. I hate that I am forced to expose these mutilations each time I dare to bare my soul to someone else; I hate that I think they’re beautiful solely because you’re the one who caused them. 

Somehow you brought out the best and worst of me all at once. You comforted me with the words that put me down, and I still want to run to you for consolation, even though it’s not the kind of comfort anyone should ever run towards. I remember the countless nights when you would tell me I was the most beautiful girl in the world with paint-stained teardrops running down my neck. They are nothing but distant memories now—hard to remember, harder to forget.

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I got tired of hiding my damage from you. I used to think that you were proud of how far I had come, and now I only want to dip my body in paint to cover all of the imperfections that she lacks. I tell myself that this isn’t my fault—that this will never be my fault—but maybe if I didn’t let you leave the glass in me when you cut me, it would’ve made it easier for you to stay. At that time, all I could think about is wanting to have definitive proof that you were once here and that it wasn’t all in my head. I’m still trying to rip the pieces out. 

I’m anticipating the day you realize what you lost. I can’t wait until the day comes that your mind tortures you with dreams of what you would do differently, if only you could call me. Someday, you’ll become a product of your destruction and realize that taking advantage of vulnerable things has consequences.

When the time comes, my name will be carved into your bones, forcing you to face it every time you open up in the slightest.  I’ll find the strength to rise from my ashes; I’ll find the resilience I’ve always had within me and sleep through the night without you. 

 

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