Happiness and Pain

Trigger: abuse

Very rough edit/train of thought written April 4, 2015

I remember carrying our daughter on my hip. Bright summer day. The landlord unlocked the apartment: our future home. We would spend the next three years there together. The three of us…then the four of us. I would spend sleepless nights rocking, holding, swaying, breastfeeding our daughter in that home. She took her first steps there. I conceived her brother there. Labored back and forth from kitchen to bedroom in that home. Brought our son home to meet his sister there. I remember his first steps in the same living room as his sister. The same living room I was pushed to the floor. I was climbed on top of. I was choked and pleading for my life. I passed out and woke gagging and gasping and begging for help. Medical help. He barricaded the door. Threw my phone out of reach. The hallway is where I was punched in the head, blacked out, and woke to my baby crawling on me. The kitchen…his favorite place to shove me from behind so hard my knees bruised and swelled. Once I was down, he would kick me until I couldn’t breathe. Then, I wouldn’t be able to sit for days. The home that filled my heart with so much joy, hate, bliss, pain, love, hurt…

So when I walk into this apartment now that I have left and been gone for 5 months. Now when I enter to gather my last bit of belongings, I’m a mess. I start sobbing. Fall to the ground in a broken heap and just sob. For what could have been. For what was. For what isn’t. He emotionally abuses me for what I pray is the last time. I leave. I can’t be there with him. I can’t do it. I try to come back later in the day. He takes the kids for a walk while I throw my things into trash bags as quickly as I can. They return from their walk and I suddenly have nice Stephen. The part of the domestic violence cycle where he is kind. He plays me a song. “Fourth of July” by Sufjan Stevens. I’m warding off his hugs and kisses. I’m in the hallway. I’m sliding to the floor. A heap again. A sadness that aches into my bones. A hurt that I can’t imagine ever leaving me. “Did you get enough love, my little dove
Why do you cry?
And I’m sorry I left, but it was for the best
Though it never felt right
My little Versaille”

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Shall we look at the moon, my little loon

He plays me a song.
“Fourth of July” by Sufjan Stevens
I’m warding off his hugs and kisses
I’m in the hallway
sliding to the floor
A heap again
A sadness that aches
into my bones
A hurt that I can’t imagine
ever leaving me.
“Did you get enough love, my little dove
Why do you cry?
And I’m sorry I left, but it was for the best
Though it never felt right”
The lyrics pierce my heart knowing
This is the last time he’ll play me a song
This is it.
I’m done.

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Her first glance your way.
Long, dirty blonde hair
Shrugging of her shoulders
As she exhales hookah smoke
And passes to you.

Where her hand slides on top of yours.
Brisk winter air becomes silent
In this moment
Next to her warm body.

Your drunken first kiss with her
Under trees growing
Like steady
Wind swaying 
Like a heartbeat you couldn’t keep
Up with.

“Bunk bed”
Where I sit
Next to you
About this dream girl
This dream night
My heart beating
Angry, sad, jealous
Little beats.

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Coffee Shop

Her slight silhouette fits neatly
In the door frame:
Winter sunshine behind her
Bundled up body.
My heart beats shakily
In a chest she once laid
Her head on
As she kissed and caressed
All my scars
And all my hopes and dreams
Fluttering around inside of me.
Now, my hand shakily waves
To announce, “Here I am.
The womyn you left
When the bruises got too big,
The wounds reopening every night.
Here I am.”
I’m nervous and I’m angry at her.
I needed her then.
Tears in my eyes and a forced smile
On my warm-with-anger face,
We lock eyes.
We lock eyes and it’s obvious:
I still love you.
Damn the universe.
Damn you too:
I still love you.

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tea time

something about the breeze
that ebbs into my bones,
the cool flow
of wind
catching on my skin
takes me back
to happiness,
a happiness I could cup
in the palm of my hands
to share
with you.
bipolar destruction,
monster of a mother
wicked wife and daughter
your mania is fading
your depression is waning
all that’s left
is a middle ground
of rage seeping
from your limbs
and orifices.
here, Miss Bipolar…
take this happiness
that I caught today
as I stood naked
in front of an open window
in the light morning
with the dewy wind
cascading around my bare body.
take this millisecond of happy.
boil your blood
and let that happy
steep a while.
drink up.

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I’m floating on a planet as my baby boy breastfeeds, as my toddler girl dances around me. It’s all just too much. Tears fall onto his fuzzy baby hair, onto the head that exited me recently. Today, it is all too much in a way that makes me fall into happy pieces on the bed. Yesterday, it was in a way that made me curl up on the same bed and writhe in emotional pain manifesting itself physically. I have days, weeks, months, and years that I fantasize about my former life. I grieve it and yearn for it. I have slight slivers of moments that the life I yearn for is here in my arms, snuggled up to my breast. My dream come true can be seen in my daughter laughing, my son reaching for my face with his curious and clumsy hands. The sunlight seems to find its way even into this basement apartment the same way happiness seems to creep into me. Will I spend my years crying and clawing to regain freedom, space, time? Will I one day melt into this life we have all created? My days are spent in my head. My days spin around me as I spin around on this planet.


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I’m walking through a cornfield
In the dead winter night.
Forgotten stumps
Kick at my feet.
I kick back
They laugh.

I’m reminded of phone calls
With her.
And stomping on snow…
Where did she go?
I will always see her
As my first girl love,
Arms around me secretly,
Kisses behind library shelves.
Where did she go?
I see a woman now.

I keep trudging.
Keep stumbling.
The dead little cornstalks
Trip me up
And pull me down.
My breath empties
In puffs of heartache.
I can’t get out of here.
I close my eyes.
I let go.

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