On being a woman who has been through trauma.
And men who don’t understand.
They joke, they flirt, they tease…
My cheeks get hot, because I can’t respond like that.
Who have fought tooth and nail to survive. Making breakfasts and lunches while our blood hums and our minds reel. Our standards lowered to just safe, just safe.
Our laughter, when it comes, is raucous… finding comfort over the miles that separate us as we trade witticisms on those we once considered captors. Late nights whispering and wondering. Relishing the little comfort, the secret betrayal of the looming dark shadow.
I am not the lighthearted girl.
Only other women are safe now.
We check the garden before we lock our back door. We breastfeed while typing statements and making reports.
The man on the phone said don’t bottle it up, it will consume you. I can’t say that my voice is bound, my words halted… for now.
How to explain to a four year old his hiding game ignites those feelings you can’t escape.
And sometimes you cannot stand to be touched.
The onus is on me.
How was your day? He says.
I want to say something pleasant, but it’s not.
I kiss the baby goodbye, and I drive.
To face my demons, wild-eyed. I sit there with my hands entwined, hearing the words fall like knives.
My breasts ache for her and yet, yet, this is our life.
And I’ve forgotten how to be light.