Do you remember?
I remember a time when my legs did not have to bend up to fit in the bathtub. Then, was the water as milky as it is now? With my near fatal concoction of fizzing bath salts, foam, and oils? That, I cannot remember.
Like I cannot remember your face.
But I do remember...
I was wearing a black tank-top from bygone days, when it used to fit me just right. A leather studded belt kept my green cargos in place. It was nighttime, and we were at an arcade. We were. You suggested some refreshments; there was a Wendy’s across the way. You bought me food. I thought it was a kind gesture then, but now I see differently. It was rather cheap food. But you did ask me if I lost weight. I guess you couldn’t remember me from high school. I remember you were gone for two years, but we used to be close friends.
I remember why I lost the weight.
That is clear to me. The depression. A hand that should have been holding my own, but it was strapped to a bed instead. It was a restrained hand who would never hurt me, but would aim to tear the needles and tubes out of its own body. I remember the sound of the oscillating machine so hell-bent on keeping her breathing, the beeps, and the false smell of sanitation. I say false, because she caught pneumonia there. And this time, it was fatal.
But you did not know that, did you?
I guess I should give you credit. You were in mourning too. Your late girlfriend had just left you, and you missed her, even though she had cheated.
I remember the first time you held me close. A stabbing pain. A numbing throb. How could I not remember? It is my deepest regret. But I still cannot remember your face, nor the way you smelled, or moved, or talked. I don’t even remember the sound of your voice.
But I do remember what you said to me afterward. You said that you would not know what you would do if your ex came back. At the time, I was at a loss for words. For so long I did not know what to say to so many things.
We did date for two years, and the truth still remains that you were a close friend. Maybe not a best friend, but a close one. You told me that you loved me; and I believed you.
Do you remember the problem I had with you?
You were getting too needy, and you had lost your job. You had lied to me when you said that you had quit because your boss was an ass. I know now that you were in fact fired for texting at work. This seems rather odd to me, because I always told you not to do that. Like I told you to lay off the pornography a bit. It was changing you, in particular, your libido. I guess I was too... what’s the word? Assertive with you.
Do you remember the other problem?
Sometimes you would hurt me. The pain would cause me to curl into the fetal position, to cry in silence. I do not think I remember any words of kindness. You seemed put out that you could not continue.
And so where there should have been continued happiness, my once forgotten depression reared its ugly head once more.
Whore. Pathetic. Whore. I heard those voices. You will never be good enough for anybody.
It was St. Patrick’s Day, and your older brother had thrown a party. I remember how you once told me a story that your brother had told you. I guess I should not use the word story, since it was a real-life event.
Your brother had said that he was once with a girl, and they were getting it on. I guess she must have changed her mind mid-act. I do not know why; you did not provide me with the details. Maybe she grew tired, maybe it had started to hurt her. Maybe she thought of another. Whatever the reason, she asked to stop. However, your brother did not stop. He was almost finished. After all, what’s a little more?
You asked me if it was rape. I did not respond.
I guess it runs in the family.
The party started off without a hitch, and I had no worries since I knew I could crash at your place. But halfway between sober and utterly wasted, the sadness had taken over. I was beginning to doubt, you see.
I ran off to be alone for a bit, and a mutual friend wanted to make sure that everything was alright. It was the gentlemanly thing to do. I do not remember you noticing. He asked if everything was okay with me, and he held me around the shoulder. The was all, and that was what you walked in on. I guess someone had tipped you off when they got the wrong idea. After all, two people of the opposite gender running into the wilds can only mean one thing.
You treated it like it was nothing. You seemed saddened because of my sorry state. At least, at first you did. I told you that I wanted to go to bed. I did not want or require anything. I was tired, and I just wanted to rest.
Maybe that is not how you remembered it.
I was alone in the room when you turned away, and I was about to put on my pajamas in peaceful solitude; but you interrupted that peaceful sanctity. I guess now that you always did, even in the beginning.
I went into shock. What had happened? I was no longer on my feet, but on a bed, and you were there on top of me. I panicked. I could not move or talk for I don’t know how long, but I was wide awake. It was torture. The voices. Pathetic. Whore. Enjoy it.
Enough, I said. I said ENOUGH.
I got dressed, and curled into a fetal position once more.
I did not sleep well that night. You must have slept very well. I remember you tried pulling my pants down in the morning after I had told you that I did not sleep well, that I had cramps in my lower abdomen.
I remember how three weeks of this went by. I started avoiding you mostly, but when I saw you, your libido would kick in.
Was it my makeup that did the trick?
I was having panic attacks. I was crying and sweating. I became afraid of you. I remember how it felt like to feel so out of place, so suddenly insecure.
It was those three weeks that were so horrifying. More horrifying than being by my aunt’s side in the hospital. At least there, I got some assurance that things may turn out alright, even though they hadn’t.
I remember how one morning you had interrupted my then rare slumber with that godawful doorbell. I had no school that Friday, and you knew it. You had known that I was going to go with a friend to the mall sometime after noon. You knew because I told you so that I had an excuse not to see you. My friend and I both had not seen each other for a long time after all, it worked perfectly.
What did not work out perfectly was that doorbell. You knew when my parents left for work, didn’t you? I guess it was not too hard to figure out.
I was afraid, and so I remember letting you in. I told you that I did not sleep well, and that I was going back to bed. I told you to wait downstairs.
But you did not wait.
I hid my panic attacks quietly, at least it started out that way. You were nude, and you were somehow turned on by my presence yet again. I curled into the fetal position for a third time.
You asked why I was so tense.
How kind of you.
I said I was tired, and my muscles ached. You offered me a massage, but without a reply, you had already begun. Before I knew it, my shirt was off as you started caressing my back, and then as I started sobbing, my pants started sliding down. I must have sobbed for a good ten minutes into that pillow.
Did you not notice?
I remember how you tried to continue.
I decided to get ready a bit early after all, and used that as an excuse to push you off of me. When I had come back, I remember you still sitting there, slouching. In that slouch, I knew what you were doing. You asked if I could help things along. To finish the deal.
No, I replied. I will not.
I remember how you screamed at me. You screamed that the passion and the romance were gone. Thus, I turned to you and quietly implored you to explain to me how sex is on the top of the list for passion and romance. I guess you were lost for words. You were still slouching in the car when I reluctantly took you with me to the mall.
The next day, I knew what I had to do. I made up my mind when you asked to talk to my dad. I kept questioning you, and you said that you wished to propose. I guess you were worried that I would be leaving you.
And I told you never.
Never in my life would I lay down my happiness and my well-being for another miserable excuse of a man.
I wish I said that. I, however, remember turning you down. It was the following Tuesday when I had left you. I simply told you that I was not happy with the relationship anymore.
I still heard that voice. Pathetic.
I remember how you had harassed me, as well as my friends. You made me tell them each, one by one, what you had done to me. They were about to beat my head against the wall for leaving you so cruelly. That was the story you had told them.
I remember how that mutual friend who asked if I was alright that St. Patrick’s Day asked to speak to me. He was worried that he had a hand in this somehow.
I told him the truth. And he held me. It was my fault that I was weak then. I stupidly gave into all the pressure once again.
I remember how you screamed at me over the telephone. What for? The relationship had ended. Was I still your property?
And still, the voice would repeat. Pathetic. Whore.
My next relationship did not turn out so well. All of this made me so cold and distant. It seems that I no longer wished for carnal affections. And with another disappointing failure, that ugly beast came scampering back.
My depression nearly sank me a third time. But was this disease a curse? I am starting to think that it was a blessing in disguise. I am finally freed. In this freedom, I have found a light.
What I am trying to say is that perhaps a hand was always holding my own, was always guiding me. When I was happy, I was blind and ignorant, but in my sadness was when I found the truth. This relationship must end. This pain must end. It is wrong to be this upset.
No longer am I as sad as I once was. All of these burdens are lifted. That hand is no longer strapped into that bed; it is placed firmly upon my shoulder. In dreams I am guided, and in dreaming I belong.
People always say not to live in dreams, that one must live for the moment. However, they do not know of my dreams.
I dream of a better way. No matter how ephemeral my dreams are, there is a man there. He comforts me and holds me just right. I talk to him, and he simply tells me that everything will be alright as he brushes back my hair over my shoulder. In my dream, my aunt is there too, smiling at us both.
A new voice has welled up inside of me. Sabrina, he says. Sabrina. It is a calm voice. Not of the man in my dreams, but a firm and fatherly voice.
Sabrina, he says. I will never let the lights go out, nor will I give up on humanity.
It is a voice that knows my fears.
I am sure that many will still think of me as pathetic, perhaps a pathetic dreamer now.
But I know that you do not think of me as pathetic. My future lover would simply hold me. In that voice, I have found my peace. Indeed, I have already begun to unfurl as a flower, to blossom once more. The pain and the debilitating cramps from all of these built up memories have ceased. No longer do I need to curl into the fetal position.
I do not remember his face or his voice, but I will always remember yours, my future lover.