A tear runs down my cheek and falls onto the empty page in front of me. The window above me is open, the chilly air and the breeze flowing through, touching my skin like an invisible finger. Autumn has come early this year.
I had abandoned most of my thoughts from the corners of my mind. Trying to recall them now is painful.
You are real and still fresh in my thoughts. Yesterday I mattered. Today, I don't. What has brought on this change? Is it truly a simple matter of events changing, or is it a case of me changing? The way I look at certain events, or the way I choose to feel and react towards them?
I should write about this. Write your pain, they say. If you say it out loud, it might help. You have to come to terms with your emotions.
So be it then. I shall write to you.
I loved you so much. You were my light. When I found out I was pregnant with you, I was devastated. I cried for a week, and it took all the strength I had to tell your Nan that you had been conceived. "How?" She asked, with bitter eyes. "Yes..." was my answer as I bowed my head in shame.
It had all been my fault. I was only 18 and I should not have been at that party so late at night. I shouldn't have been so pleased with how I felt when I pulled the tight little black dress over my lithe frame. I shouldn't have smiled so much when I looked at myself sideways in the mirror. I shouldn't have felt good while I brushed my dark hair out and let it flow loosely down my back.
He watched me as I walked towards the bar for my first drink. We briefly made eye contact when he took the chair next to me and asked if the seat was taken.
"Why would you care?" I replied. "You've already decided to sit here."
He smiled again and lit a cigarette, taking a long drag. He exhaled slowly, and handed the cigarette to me. It wasn't a request, it was an order. His power excited me and I wanted him to kiss me.
My hand felt small in his when he led me out the back door. It was very dark outside and we stumbled over the steps that led down to the alleyway. His hands were on my breasts as he pushed me against the brick wall. He kissed me hard, and he tasted like salt and something spicy. His tongue was hungry. I felt his knee push between mine and pry them apart roughly. I opened my legs for him and then he was against me, his body pushing into mine. He was hard against me. His hands were everywhere – on my arms, on my breasts, under my skirt, pulling at my panties, pushing his fingers inside me.
I said no before I believed it was my voice breaking the thick air all around us. That first 'no' was followed by a chorus of 'no's' echoing through the night air. I pushed him away from me, but he kept coming back, and the final time he wanted more than a kiss. My panties were down before I could scratch at him. I begged for him to leave me alone. I prayed to God as I felt him enter me, calling out silently; it felt like I was being torn apart with pain when he moved inside of me. And then it was over and he was leaning into me, pinning me to the wall, his mouth on my neck, breathing hard. He moved away from me to pull up his zipper and smiled the same smile as earlier on in the bar. I cringed when he came back for a kiss.
"You be alright getting back home?" he asked as he tidied his hair.
I mumbled incoherently. I wished I was dead.
The next few hours were like a nightmare. I sneaked back into my bedroom the same way I had escaped earlier. I risked waking up Nan by tip-toeing to the bathroom. I stood under scorching water for a very long time until it felt like my skin would separate from my body. I scrubbed with soap and a face cloth and I let the tears come as I tried to scrub away the shame. Only when I was safely curled up in bed, did I allow myself to feel between my legs to see if there was any damage. I winced as I touched myself and remembered his smile.
Five weeks later the sickness came. I was sick on the way to school, and on the way from school. And then I knew.
Nine months I carried you inside of me. Nine months we were physically inseparable. Nan was there when you were born on that cold and lonely night.
You were the perfect baby. Every night you greedily sucked your bottle empty and smiled at me when I changed you and wrapped you in a soft blanket. I rocked you in my arms and kept you with me for the longest time, before putting you down in your cot.
And then you were five and it was Halloween.
Halloween has always been my favourite holiday. Each year the excitement started long before the actual day. This was in the days before Hallmark got hold of the holiday and commercialised it completely. Each year we choose your costume together. That particular year you chose to be a unicorn. I made you a horn out of papier mâché, and you wore one of my old flowing robes with sequins sewn onto it. We sprinkled glitter in your golden hair and you spent your evening galloping around the streets pretending you were a real unicorn leaving silver glitter in your path as you ran.
When our street finally started to clear and the younger kids were all going inside their homes, I looked for you, but you were gone. I called for you, but there was no answer.
The officer that we reported your disappearance to reminded me of your father. It was something in his eyes. He scared me. He followed the glitter path that you had left behind and it reminded me of how much you loved Hansel and Gretel.
We never did find you. I begged God to give you back to us. I prayed for forgiveness, for not wanting you. I hated myself for not watching you closer, but you were gone, and nothing or no-one would bring you back to me.
It is Halloween tonight, and Nan has already put the candy by the front door. Still we wait to see your golden hair every time the front door opens.
Your father took my virginity, my innocence, and my sense of self.
When you left, you took my heart and my soul. I am an empty shell. Nothing is left of me, except regrets, fear and pain.
It is time that I join you now.
Wherever you are, whether you are still on this earth or not, I will be there for you in that place they call heaven. I could not look after you in this life. I will, in the next.
I wish to thank Nirvanadragones and Matriarch for their help, inspiration and patience. Thank you, Beautiful Women.
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