bottle caps

I was always so afraid of everything. Even now, I couldn’t look you in the eye and tell you that nothing could shake me. I still am afraid of everyone. I cower away from the corridors at night; I shrink away from honesty. I strangle all my truths within me.

I want to know how you saw me. I want to know if you still do. I want to forget the bruises in my shin and focus on your voice instead. You tried to reach into my lungs and pull out the words I trapped so stubbornly in my ribs, but I never gave in. I wish I had. I wish I hadn’t been afraid of who I could be. I wish you would’ve stayed after you pulled my eyelids apart and threw me at the mirror. I wish you could see me now. I wish you’d see me now and tell me you were proud of yourself for having managed to bring out something from me that I didn’t know of.

I wish I’d known everything I was to be before I lost you, so I wouldn’t be pouring crimson regret in front of someone I paid to understand me. I regret so much. I regret holding back. I regret not having held on to you tighter when I’d lost all grip on my mind. But she, the one across the desk, is the only one who’ll know.

I’ve told her of how I’ve looked for you at the bottom of rum bottles, tirelessly. I’ve told her how I learned so much later that my love was always fear.

She asks me if there was a possible root cause for all my fear. She asks me if I think a single event from all my twenty years, from my seven thousand and three hundred days, could’ve forced me to perceive threat from everywhere. I want to laugh at her face. I want to tell her there’s no reason for this – nothing from the chronology, at least. So I tell her it’s my head. That it’s all in my head. Because that’s what everyone has been telling me, ever since I was thirteen.

She looks sceptical, but she lets it pass. After a moment, she looks up from her papers and I can see she has this look on her face, that her next question is the key question, that this is going to make me pour out everything, and that this session will be a cakewalk.

“If you could go back – say, time travel – and be able to speak to yourself when you were a little girl, what would you tell her?”

I laugh disdainfully.

“I’d go back and tell her whatever lies ahead isn’t worth it. I’d kill her, knowing that she’s lived her sunshine days to their end. I’d kill her because I wouldn’t want this life for her. I’d kill her because I wouldn’t want her to be what I have become.”