My Old Friend

I was 18 when we met. I was worthless. Unlovable. Used, forgotten trash. And you coddled me. But I did not feel safe for long. You magnified my weakness. You turned your zealous head and consumed me.

We were inseparable.

You grabbed me. You clawed at my skin, pulling me into your depths. And I surrendered. I sank my knees into the earth for it was fruitless to resist. You stole everything. My head sank. My heart sank. My tears melted to the floor. Because you whispered in my ear that I was no longer a woman. You stole my feminine identity.

For I was the one thing that cannot be forgiven: ugly.

I slowly rose from your pit. I climbed and scraped my nails on a bed of rock. Halfway at first. Then back a quarter. Up and down. Inch by inch my liberation dangled in front of me.

You no longer pulled me down. You sat silently by my side. Daring me to succeed. Daring me to believe. To dream of a life without you.

Heaving out of your prison, I left at a sprint. You were at my heels. Stepping and stumbling, I continued to run. The exhaustion was in my bones.

My supporters were on the sidelines. Thinking I was in a marathon and not a chase. Seeing my flee as a sport. As an accomplishment. As a trophy to put on the shelf. Faster and faster I ran. I did not remember the fullness of a breath. My only resources were the sweat on my brow and the ache in my muscles. Faster and faster.

I stopped.

I turned.

I did not fight.

I walked with you quietly. You gave me a hug, your embrace like a maternal cocoon.

You did not capture me. I was there on my own accord. The sadness the same. The beauty escaping as I tried to hold onto the last drops of my sweat. I could not grasp them.

You knew that I would return. You knew that I needed you to escape the exhaustion. The fatigue. It is much easier to rest in your house than to flee. No digging. No scratching. No clawing my way out. I wait patiently as you whisper your damage in seductive tones.

Until one day, I am strong enough to walk. I do not run. I am in the arms of my loved ones. Rejoice. You no longer whisper to me. I command my own presence.

And yet

I catch glimpses of you from the corner of my eye. I see you through my window. I see you patting my friends on the shoulder. I see you glorified on the news. I see everyone striving to befriend you.

But they do not know you as I know you. You shift in the darkness, but I can see you.

I know that I will return to you. I know that you will welcome me with open arms. But you are no longer nameless. You will walk beside me for the rest of my days. But I will not be afraid to shed a light on your own tragedy.

You have a name. and you cannot take mine.

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