“He says it’s all my fault,” I sob the words into his shoulder. He rubs my back softly, whispering that it’s not true into my ear. He picks me up gently and sits with me in the overstuffed recliner. He knows its my favorite place in his house. My feet burn in my shoes; I ran to his house after the latest fight with my foster dad. He kisses my forehead tenderly, then my nose, and my mouth. The sensation grounds me, and I start trying to cage my emotions. I wipe my eyes roughly. I refuse to let my hands continue to shake. I entirely shut off my emotions for ten seconds. Ten, I bite my lip, nine, I close my eyes, eight, I breathe in slowly through my nose, seven, I feel his fingers push a few hairs away from my face, six, I exhale slowly out of my mouth, five, I unclench my hands, four, I tell myself I am not worthless, three, I open my eyes, two, he looks in my eyes to tell me he loves me, one, I say I love him. And I smile wide. Because I am still alive, I am still happy, and I will be okay.
He, my foster dad that is, could be cruel sometimes- physically and mentally. I’d gone through so many families since I was given up at birth, but this one was by far the worst. The whole family was dominated by this one cold-hearted man. His wife tried to act like she wasn’t terrified for the children, but I still saw how she flinched at every movement of his hands. They had two little kids who trembled when he walked in the room. Most of the bruises and cuts I got were from stepping in front of them so I could protect them. It made him so furious when I did, like I was preventing him from administering some twisted form of justice.
I cried in the middle of the night, quietly, but the sobs still racked my chest. I cried for his wife, who could not leave because he didn’t allow her to have a job. I cried for the kids, who would never know what a healthy relationship was. I cried for my boyfriend, who worried every night that by morning I could have been fatally beaten. And sometimes I even cried a little selfishly for myself, who had been dealt such a lot in life.
Your Sweet Assassin