No one ever warned me that your past would have a way of meddling with your future. That it would make certain dates eat at you and drive you to some level of madness. That certain months would turn skies gray and leaves would wither in front of your very eyes. That October was always a month tinged with fear, but not because of ghost stories, unless we’re talking about the ghosts of our past.
My ghosts always find me somehow or another, and I wish they would just lie still instead of rattling around inside of my chest like a cough that just sits at the base of your throat and refuses to budge. The memory of him nearly swallowed me whole yesterday morning when I was walking to work. The black bandanna, the taste of kerosene kisses, the first night we met. How my best friend and I giggled over his name because we were blissed out on mixed drinks and the smell of hookah. When he showed up at my apartment a night later sitting on the floor, I never knew he would destroy me.
Absolutely fucking destroy me.
His wardrobe in those days was like Johnny Cash with a dash of red. His tattoos were like scars I had begged to explore, but the more I got to know him, the less he became a book I wanted to read. The more I got to know him, the more he became a television channel that I could not, despite my wishes to the contrary, turn off. It was always his voice in my ear. I remember writing about the feeling of desperate love when he ran his fingertips through my hair. I remember him hiding in the attic, convinced his stepfather was pacing the streets with a gun. I remember thinking, “Schizophrenia?” Never did it occur to me, he was in the thralls of addiction.
I remember the first shove, the first punch, but my memory distorts itself, clouding over and changing itself. I remember the time he flipped over all my furniture, the primal, blood-curdling scream I let out that night in the subdivision, and he didn’t worry about my pain, he just worried about waking up the neighbors. I remember kicking him out of the hospital room.
There’s so much I could say about domestic violence, so many pictures I could paint, but I’m so damn tired today. It all hurts, and I feel a little too raw, too exposed at the moment.
I didn’t create this video, but the song is one a friend played for me as tears streamed down my cheeks, and I hid in her basement.