To James (Draft 1)

James,

I have scars; too many to count, actually. I try to hide them, but they are too big to conceal; too big to to suppress; too big to invalidate. They are a part of me now. Had I known how hard they would be to hide, might I have tried harder to stop you?

No… that’s stupid of me to say. You were too strong.

Or was I too weak?

I don’t know. I don’t know a lot of things anymore. That is only fitting though, given how our relationship went.

Your subverting comfort, your treacherous love–it fooled me. It made me feel as if I mattered, only for you to tell me that I didn’t. What was I supposed to do? I certainly didn’t know. It suffices to say that I was not expecting it from you. I thought I knew you so well, too. We were close. I thought I loved you. No… no–I didn’t. I don’t mean that. I don’t think I do, anyway. I don’t know what to think anymore. I think I have forgotten how–or what–to think.

What were you thinking? I wish I knew.

But I don’t.

You seemed to loathe my existence. And in a way, I kind of did too. Where does one even start to harbor such feelings of loathing and resentment?

Why do you hate me? What have I done to you? I–I… liked you.
I could keep asking you these questions, but I am not naive–I know you will not answer them. I know that much.

My brain feels like the aftermath of a Gallagher show. Why the hell did I just bring up Gallagher? Isn’t that the watermelon guy?

Ugh.

Bits of pink mashed together into a cranium does not a brain make.

I’m…rambling. I am sorry. Let me try to tell you something at least somewhat cogent… something about my scars–our relationship.

Our relationship was not the best. At least to me it was not. It was not for either of us, really. I should have realized that it all was going to come to an abrupt end, our relationship. You tried to hurt me. Don’t you remember that? I can not stop myself from remembering everything you did, no matter how hard I try. And I try hard.

Look at my scars. You can’t miss them. You try to look away, but you can’t; you won’t. You know they are yours, too. You know you are their creator, and there is nothing you can do to change that. No present on a birthday, no surprise phone call at night can even approach mending what you have broken.

I am broken.

You want to fix me, but we both know that you can’t. The damage is done. The bruises are there for everyone to see.

Sometimes I remember the first date we went on. I wore my favorite blouse and skirt. You, your nicest button-down and freshly pressed pair of khakis. I don’t know why I remember that… I just…do. You drove to my house to pick me up. Ha, I remember the car you drove. We both agreed you were lacking in that department. But, hey, if the date went well, who really gave a crap?

You took us to this mom-and-pop pizza place. I don’t remember what kind of pizza we ate, honestly. All I remember was how great you were. You knew how to talk to me. I could tell that you dug me. I was digging you, too. We talked about your aspirations and mine. You wanted to become a carpenter, you said. I was taken aback. I mean, you were a smart guy–at least from what I could tell. Not that carpenters are dumb. Jesus was a carpenter. He seemed like an alright guy, I guess. But it was what you enjoyed, and it paid decent. I wasn’t going to complain, at least not on the first date. I told you I wanted to be a journalist, or at the very least a writer. You seemed interested in that. I was glad you were. I was interested in you. I wanted us to work. We were both so young–and sexy, at that. At least I thought so.

We were puzzle pieces, you and I; necessarily complementary to each other.

At least I thought so.

What happened? What went wrong? What did I do to make you despise me?

Why didn’t you love me?

I feel like a circus freak when I walk down the street. Everyone laughs at me. I am a freak; I am ugly; I’m hideous. The constant state of paranoia I live in encapsulates me, engulfs me. I am paranoia. That is my existence; my beginning and my end. It’s all your fault.

Or is it mine? Did I cause this? Is it my fault?

I wish I had some answers… but I don’t. I’m too afraid to ask you.

I wish I was stronger. I wish my scars would heal… but they won’t; I’m not the same. My friends won’t talk to me anymore. My family won’t either. I wish I knew why.

Is it because of you?

Or is it because me? Do they think I made it all up? Is that why?

I rack what is left of my brain to find an answer as to why–but I can’t find one. Is it not there–or am I just avoiding it? What could I have done differently for you to love me? I guess I’ll never know.

Yeah, we’d fight. I didn’t think anything of it, though. It seemed harmless. Most couples do that, right? Right?

Right…

That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. This was different, though. We always made up after–when the tensions was gone. You’d call me all sorts of things.

The fighting wasn’t anything physical.

At first.

I provoked you, the first time you hit me. I might’ve had it coming, in retrospect. I was vicious. My anger had built up to an unimaginable level. You were pissing me off, and I let you have it. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, right?

I saw you raise your hand. I didn’t know what you were going to do with it. Then you unleashed your fury and your scorn.

I’m not weak.

Well…yes, I am.

No…I’m not.

I’m not fragile.

I’m not. I swear it.

I thought I could take it, the beating. But you were just too strong, and I too weak. If I was stronger I would have defended myself. I should have.

Or maybe I should not have provoked you.

It was my fault.

What are you saying? Of course it wasn’t your fault. You can’t control another person.

Ha!

Yes, you can. I should know–you controlled me for the longest time.

Nobody gave me any warning. Everyone loved you–my friends, my family. Even strangers seemed to love you. You’re charming, I’ll give you that–even if I hate every other part of you.

I don’t mean that. I don’t hate you. I can’t let you go. We were something, whatever that something happened to be. I liked what we had, even with all the fights. It was hard to like what we had when you’d come over to my apartment completely wasted and try to start an argument over something I’d allegedly done. You had become paranoid–so much so that you would call me after you left my apartment to ask if I’d gone anywhere. You kept asking me whom I was texting. It was getting ridiculous, to be honest.

No other guy I had been with treated me like this. I stayed out of their business, and they stayed out of mine. Why the hell were you the one to break the cycle of sane boyfriends? Why?

My scars are deep. They are fresh wounds, and the memories of our relationship is salt. My scars keep me up at night. They haunt me.

You haunt me.

I called the police when you hit me. You remember that? Of course you do.

I still feel the guilt. Perhaps I should not have done that. Maybe we could have worked everything out? I’d like to think so, anyway. But now you’re gone, James.

Jail cells aren’t ideal for relationships.

A part of me doesn’t miss you at all. That’s the part of me I don’t what to do with. Do I believe that? Do I care about you anymore? What do I do once you get out? I still don’t know the answer.

I am a slave to you. My feelings for you are shackles and chains and whips. My feelings have scarred me, and I can’t hide them.

They will exist as long as I exist.

Maybe I shouldn’t exist. That’s the only way for me to forget you, it seems.

I’m sorry. I’ll write again soon…probably.

-Emma

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