I am not myself. Or at least, I am not the happy spirited part of that self. I am subdued, submerged, by repeated psychic pummelling. It is so easy to subdue another, isn’t it? And, for some, so tempting that they cannot resist.
Note: This is written in the present tense because the pain-echoes are happening NOW.
I am a shudder and nerve-crunch of endless pain. Banked for so long, its past echoes resounding against cavernous canyon walls, it rips and spasms, cuts and crushes. Breathing hurts – as muscles holding jaw clenched and tense for a week, crash open and let the boulders rebound against delicate nerve endings and tired fibrous clumps.
I gasp and heave in air under knotted and perilously high shoulders; each inhalation is a rasp of agony and a fluttering of weary, terrified heart, heart which beats on so valiantly despite the claws which have torn holes in it and the greedy hands which have sought to squeeze the life out of it.
Head pounds, thundering waves slashing the shore’s fine sand, cutting trenches into former smoothness, depositing cleaned and gutted shells and sweeping out dirt and detritus, leaving a wavering sea-weed-festooned mark high up the beach of the psyche.
Sun glitters from a bright and sparkling blueness and picks up the tiny fragments of coloured glass, the salty residue of each incursion by wild sea horses. Razor-sharp stones shred tender soles, leaving a trail of blood.
A great wail climbs the fragile column of throat; I try to breathe it back, but it will no longer fit in the tight cupboard of my labouring diaphragm. It hangs, a grenade with pin loosely fixed, in my mouth; my teeth throb and then numb with the effort of concealment…
But who am I protecting? Not me.
Through twitching and swollen tongue, I spit that pain-bomb out, feeling it catch on sore lips as it hurtles through the air with a dreadful, mournful shriek, ‘Why do you have to hurt me like this?’
‘Why, if you love me, do you need to punish, kick, torment and humiliate me?’
‘Why do you need to dig deep for my Achilles Heel and then prick it with relentless glee?’
Mind has grappled with the wall of ice, threatened by imminent splintering – because it cannot hold two such disparate truths in its crystal orb: Unkind treatment and deliberate torment does not square with love. Therefore, you do not love me and never did – and I built a fantasy castle out of my own misguided need. A castle of sand which you took great delight in stamping upon, until there was nothing left but a thin watery moat and a child’s bucket-and-spade standing forlornly by.
Because I could not say no to your cruelty, your callous parade of other beauties in front of my eyes, the sick excited part of you has intensified the pressure, has rolled out yet more length of threat’s carpet, has enjoyed the thrill, the power, the control.
Your eyes flicker away, cannot meet mine; they unfocus and drift, wanting to escape knowing, wanting to keep the pleasure without counting the cost. Yet, when it suits you, when the game demands it, you fix me with those eyes, pin me like a butterfly to a board, add me to your vast collection, practise your vivisectionist needs upon me.
Your behaviour, I now know, is inconsistent with anything even approaching true love, friendship, respect and fellow-feeling. In truth, I doubt that you are capable of any of these human emotions.
The inner crucifixion of me, my death upon the cross you have handed me – sacrificing another human being because she turned over the tables and let the money fall onto the stony floor – and your action of sticking the spear in (Not to see if I were dead, but to inflict pain even at the agonal moment) has, ultimately, condemned you to your very own Golgotha, your personal Beach of Anguish.
It may not happen now. It may never happen whilst I still know, and know of, you; but happen it will, eventually – because you cannot dish out plate after plate of agony to others without it, finally, rebounding upon you.
I am not a malicious person. Love, rather than hatred, runs my system. But I know right from wrong, kind from cruel, love from unfeeling indifference, truth from power game.
You have lost me. Lost me because you treated me as if I were a cheap, battery-farmed laboratory animal, created so that you could experiment upon me and watch me suffer; so that you could record my pain in your vile ledger and then replay it for your own warped joy at a later date.
Perhaps one day, you will be brought up short, will meet someone who is even better at this game than you are. Perhaps one day you will understand that hurting others so that you can get what you want carries the promise of a backlash in its scorpion tail.
It is very simple. Either you love me, or you hurt me. There is no middle ground. Not when deliberate intent comes into the equation. I cannot trust you – and love cannot survive without trust.
It no longer matters who ‘you’ are. You have arrived in various forms over the decades. Collectively, and individually, you are toxic.
I breathe out tears and blood and mucus. My chest heaves and pinches. The beauty of the beach in my head, in my heart, comforts but cannot prevent this overflow of pain, this tsunami, years in the making, from laying waste to all around it.
And, dimly through the red haze of screaming, I see that I have called the storm; that I have reclaimed my power and autonomy the only way I know: By opening that locked jaw, allowing the shrieks to emerge – and sweeping YOU off my beach and out of my life.
You do not deserve me. You never did.