To the person that exists in the past but plagues my present,
Similar to a fresh fruit exposed too close to a bad one, the purity of youth had been extracted from me by your doing. In its place burrowed the scarrings, like that of an overripe banana. In all fairness, you can’t be held accountable for the whole of it. As like the general experience of any other little girl, somewhere along the ages of six to ten the world had undergone this abnormal shift and lost its alluring charm to me. The colors in which everything had been saturated so beautifully had begun to drain away, overtaken by bleak undertones. I can’t be sure if that’s the actual reality of what had happened or whether it was caused by a rotten shift in the eye of the beholder, but gone was the futile innocence only children possess. Unfortunately for you, you are not the sole cause of my dull frustration, though I know you would take considerable joy in it if you were.
The reason for my current frustration has more to do with its sustained existence; I am frustrated with the constant feeling of frustration towards you and myself, and frustrated at the notion that I had sought to believe that our closeness had any ounce of normalcy to it. By you, by my own stupidity, by those in the guessing. In the past, I viewed a statutory school uniform consisting of a white collar and a gray skirt to signify a blossoming maturity with a guarded naiveté. Still, now I realize it meant something wholly different for you. For you, those tangible layers were a depiction of, yes, a blossoming maturity and guarded naiveté, but of which you could incorporeally feed off of –something you could gnaw at from your privileged position to supply the never-ending hunger that is your ego. Day after day, I refrain from speaking or even thinking your name, as though it’ll diminish the angry creases of your face from my memory; as though that small attempt to forget will subdue the hollowness that you’ve managed to leave in the short time I knew you, as though it will suffice to rid the red-and-purple blues that are no longer visible but live permanently on the surface of my skin. You ripped off the white collar of blossoming maturity and demanded ripeness. You tore at the gray skirt of guarded naivete and called for liberty to do as you pleased. Only now, as I’ve developed an absurd tendency of letting my planted rage seep out at odd moments, I’m able to recognize how you perceived it all (consciously or otherwise, as a sick power game.
This cruelty would shine through whenever a sneer would form at your lips, growing in size as an abrupt fist grew in distance to a recoiling cheek contoured with fear. There was this equal fascination shared between us regarding my lack of capacity to do right by myself and equal fascination at how both of us, to certain significant degrees, interpreted these actions to come from a place of endearment. These sensations mingled in such a way as to channel a strange orchestration of submission and domination. It felt as though I had been an unwilling participant in a dance that only you knew the steps to –and of which my only use was to produce music to your ears. The notes were hidden from me, revealing its melodies only moments or seconds before the dance ensued as if only to confuse its reader. Other times it served as an ominous existence awaiting its employment. Isn’t it funny how my screams had disassociated itself from me?
At times of random reflection, my mind can’t help but wonder if you ever think back on the tinted car windows that often encircled us. Windows that had acted as your veil of privacy and mine as bars from freedom. Windows that both entrapped me in your power and witnessed the evil of it. Windows that whenever rained upon, seemed to be crying with and for me. Windows that, for the longest time, were the only thing knowledgeable of your crimes. I’ll grant you the benefit of the doubt —take it, I know how much you adore taking. Perhaps you actually have pondered on similar topics as I have. Perhaps you have imagined being the person at the bottom. Perhaps you too have wondered what it would feel like to stare at the incessant motion of the wiper, and only hear the rhythmic sound against the windshield accompanied by your futile gasps for air. To fear that you’d never fully embody yourself again, as all the while another being chips away at you. So is it similar? Are we similar in that regard? Does your mind sometimes conjure up those dreadful images so quickly on its own violation too, the way mine does so often? If so, does it come from a place of remorse? Or rather, a pleasing fantasy which you may reveal to appeal to and amuse others?
I have my reasons for writing this letter. But as I don’t think I’ll ever receive any from you, I might find it suitable to refrain from granting you such a courtesy. Instead, I want to bring to the front a specific memory in time when I had been sure, despite everything, that you had truly harbored a certain sentiment for me.
There had been this one particular day when your tongue and limbs had refrained from the infliction, and your eyes retained a newfound warmness reserved for mine. That day had been the kind that demanded hot cups of coffee, to beat the sudden coldness of outside as well as to bring approval to the endless hours of leisure inside. With a gentleness so rarely granted, a subtle finger glided across the linings of my palm as your other hand rested on your cheek, not the one tinted with red remnants of my lipstick however. That cheek was, at that time, fortunately in my view and free from obstruction. Below the table, our legs lapped excitedly together and earned scolding glances from those around us. Now and then you had stopped speaking to let me intrude with my recital of stories or broaching of thought, nodding your head as I divulged you with redundant particulars that bore no significance to the central plot, but you kept nodding and squinting and sipping at your coffee as if those minor features greatly amused you. I added on the particulars however much I could to preserve your interest. A part of me knew, even then, that your tenderness only extended as far as your interest. It was something delicate and needed to be preserved correctly for as long as it survived –which was never long.
Half of your face had hidden behind the tiny cup as you sipped your drink, still nodding and squinting as I rejoiced in your rare willingness to listen to me speak, with happiness for once. Then the cup had found itself back on the wooden table between us again, and that tight smile you had always worn when something delighted you was revealed once more. For the first time in a long time, I felt as though we were finally back to being bare together as opposed to just myself. Ironically, the idea of having been naked and shivering with you, instead of alone under your despotic gaze, had fed my illusion greatly. Just as abruptly as the weather turned bright and crisp outside, somewhere along the interaction your softness had dipped into you and your hands retracted in spite. Yet again I was left bare on my own with you withholding any source of warmth. And just as quickly our coffee’s steam wisped to oblivion, without witness your hand too was just as fleeting to put me into a momentary oblivion.
This sort of treatment had not been alien to me.
But for some reason, at that specific day and at that specific moment of imposed nudity I felt for the first time, as though I had been unreasonably wronged. Which, in hindsight, it’s simple to discern that I was and always had been. But only then had a strange juncture of distortions amalgamated before me and presented the truth. Like a show observable only to me. In every moment I was with you, I had always been at your mercy. Even at our coffee shop. For too long, I had stocked and piled away every feeling of desolation that I had garnered toward and from you. Stealing away days, weeks, and months of convincing myself of contentment from the rare moments of kindness that you showed me. But the draft I drew and the warmth you stole that day at the cafe had set the clock back to right. There was no more time for me to steal. Instead, it was demanding me to repay the debts I took. So, slowly, in the face of your shock and dismay, I donned my garments but shed my skin from your mercy.
Time passed and even then you had still been the reason for my drained cheeks. More often than I’d like to admit, one cheek of mine would stick to a pillowcase for hours on end, time stretching beyond me with no near horizon as tiredness and dejection, like a drug, strapped me to bed and laid me out flat. How does one conduct themselves after detaching from a malady after living with it for so long? Like a piece of tape that never sticks the same way the second time, it’s still quite difficult to fully register the idea that I am no longer harboring and nurturing a poison that you had used to merrily supplement me with. However, I’m aware that that poison had been a violation of what I am alone. There is more to me than you. There is more to fix than what you ruined. There is more to life than what you took. There is more to give than what you are left with. As I’ve made clear from the very opening of this letter, you are one of the very few individuals who remain to exist completely in my past yet retain a lingering effect on my present. Despite this, I refuse to comprehend the possibility of you obstructing my future.
With coveted neutrality and dwindling frustration,