My beautiful man, strong, sexy, musky, masculine. I take him in, he holds me to him. I'm enveloped, lost in where I want to be.
Nothing amiss, nothing I could feel anyway. I know my way.
And then memory punches me with brutal force and I stop, I move, I float away.
"Baby?" he asks, and I barely hear him in the fog of the thick cloud surrounding me, memory drowning out his voice, no longer feeling his warm skin against mine.
He is my anchor, my protector, but even he cannot navigate his way over this jagged road. Not because he won't try, because he will. Not because I won't allow it, because I do.
It's because I don't know. I don't see it yet...the flashes of terror, swerving tendrils passing my periphery, target practice, a near-miss, a direct hit. My body a tight ball of numbness. Neither of us knows how to recognize it. Like children in a foreign land, we instinctively huddle together to solve a problem we haven't figured out yet.
I can't find my way.
I retreat into sleep without letting him hold me. It kills him, but he gives me that. Tears in the morning, holding the messy shame of the forty-year-old memory right there in my open hand for him to see. Flesh and hair, genitals and lips -- the human body much the same for us all; it's only the experiences that change.
That change us.
He holds me now as I cry, apologizes for not seeing, for not knowing. It's okay -- I didn't know either. "It's not your war to fight," I say.
I get lost sometimes.
I've traveled this road for many decades and I still don't know how to go. I am a wanderer, traversing mountains of time. There is no fault, only fault lines that tremor and quake, barring me, no warning.
I tremble as I calm, breathing restored, realizing it will always be there, waiting in the shadows.
This battle I know.
I know my way.
~ Broken Places, Rachel Thompson
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Author of The BadRedhead Media Book Marketing Challenge, and the award-winning, bestselling BROKEN PLACES, BROKEN PIECES books, inspiring #sexabuse survivors. Survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and advocate for women and children. Partnered with Sayfty.com to create Speak Our Stories, allowing [...]