Falling Forward

I didn’t realize how hard it would be, going back.  Or maybe I did.
I can’t do this.  I can’t move forward.  It’s stupid to think I can.

I was stupid.  So, so stupid.
This is all my fault.

I spent the entire weekend hiding behind a wall.  Not a real wall, but rather an emotional one.  I had to protect myself; I had to hide.  I talked to one person the entire weekend, and that was via messaging on my phone.  I told her I wasn’t sure about going back to the real world, I wasn’t sure whether I could connect again.  I let people know I wasn’t coming, just like I was supposed to.  I didn’t know if I could function.  I was broken.  She told me to take the time I needed, but she argued my ability to cope.  Life would be good for me, she said, and I it.  She gave me a list of all of the things I needed to do with my day, something that I could follow from start to finish.  Get up.  Shower.  Eat.  The basics.
She believed in me.  I can believe too.  I get up.  I shower.  I can do this.

Someone is talking to me.  I don’t understand.  I can’t make out the words.  I am numb.
I can’t feel anything but him.
Too much.  It’s all over me.  I need to get it off.
I am desperate to shower.  I will never be clean enough.

I stall on the list when it comes to getting in the car.  Now I sit in the garage, staring.  No amount of belief can make it better.  Nothing can fix what happened.  I got this notion that, like in some science fiction show, if I put my hand on the car, the memories would instantly flood me.  The ultimate sensory experience.  Only not in a good way.  I gave myself an extra half hour to get ready.  It wasn’t enough; I was right all along.  I can’t do it.
I reach out.  My fingers graze the metal.
Breathe.

Breathe.
My arm is behind my back.  I can’t feel my fingers.  I feel something metal, cold.  I can’t move.  
Breathe.  Think.
This is a nightmare.  My nightmare.  When I scream, nothing comes out.  I am an animal caught in a trap, a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car.  
There are headlights on the road, sweeping through the windows.  I am crushed.   I can’t move; I can’t scream.  If I could do something, if I could fight…I can’t.  I can’t do anything.
The metal is cold.  Hard.

I chew my right index finger, ripping the skin down so far that it bleeds.

My fingernails are short.  Too short.  I have chewed them since I was old enough to do so.  
My fingernails are insufficient weapons.  They jab, they rake across skin, but they are incapable of doing damage.  Incapable of hurt.  I am incapable of doing anything.

The blood is bright.  Red.  There’s so much of it, too much to come from a fingernail.  Too much.

The blood is everywhere.  I am frozen, literally and figuratively.  

It happened right there.  Right inside.  I am supposed to get in the car, drive, and go about my day as if nothing  happened.  Because for all anyone knew, nothing had.  I learned early on the inappropriateness of sharing feelings.  It isn’t done.  It scares people, makes them turn away.  I am supposed to do my thing, go on living, push it out of my head and pretend it didn’t exist.  With absolute, concrete certainty, I know and believe this fact.  I just know I can’t do it.  I have followed the list as far as I could.  I can’t go any further.  How am I supposed to go on when there is this?  How am I supposed to step back into my life?  Where do I even begin?  It hurts too much.

It hurts.  A lot.  Something inside me is broken.  Empty.  
Cold.
“I love you.”
The words hang in the air.  Love.  It is an empty, foreign concept.  The statement means nothing.
I am an object; I am his object.  I belong to him and I always will.  I can’t breathe.  I can’t say a word.  Despite my best efforts, I am crying.  I search for something else, anything else.  A focus.

My focus sticks on the tire I had leaned against that night, in the dark.  I had prayed there, in another place, another time.  Breaking, broken.  I prayed, but nothing came.  I’m not dead, but I feel like I might as well be.
I am his, always his.

I count to 500 before I get out, before I slide against the tire.  Every motion is mechanical.  I ignore the pain.  My vision is dark; blackness is taking over.
I am falling into myself.  Drowning.  Dying.

It isn’t as simple as open the door and get in.  I think about the people who respect me, about the life I had built.  Separate, yet together.  I think about what I would be missing, what I would be giving up.  What I would be letting him take, letting him win.
I ponder what they would think, if they knew.  How they would hate me.  I imagine their reactions.  I wonder how to speak.  I realize I can’t.  I can’t breathe.

I’m not breathing.  Am I supposed to be breathing?

I stop breathing.
I start again.
I let myself cry.  I let myself fall.
I am numb, but I am driving.  He can’t win.  But no one can know.  No one can ever know.
Forward.  Never back.

I am silent.

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One thought on “Falling Forward

  1. Oh, that first day back was awful.
    Prayers here. It’s tough!

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