The R Word

Trigger Warning: Dark themes, (implicit) sexual assault

How much time has it been? Days? Weeks? Months? It feels like Seconds. Moments. Breaths. Heartbeats. Heartbeats since you stole my life. Since you put your indistinct hands on my soul and throttled it mercilessly. Since you ravaged my existence with your blurry body. Since you spat on my body with your forgotten face. A face that, ironically enough, I cannot conjure up despite my utmost effort.

You knocked on the door, I opened it a bit, and you tore it down. Your visit took me by surprise, overpowering my senses before I had the chance to say anything. It was brief, granted, but murder often is. You see, some part of me has become mortally imperiled since we met, hanging tentatively on the narrow border between a dying life and a living death. You made my fate subject to the caprices of the gods of probability, known not for their mercy. You fashioned a shroud from the skin you flayed, and left me to die both in and from my own body.

I’ve been following the rulebook. Take it in stride. Power through. Engage with life. Think constructively. And every now and then, when I’m crippled and consumed by unexpected, inexplicable, conflagrations of utter misery, I persist until I’m reluctantly pulled up by the tenterhooks of fleeting reprieves. Do not be defined by it but do not consign it to a radioactive tomb in your subconsciousness. Move on, but at the pace of a gentle stream gradually eroding small rocks that obstruct its flow, and not at the speed of a tumult-ridden sea, roiling, toiling, churning, and burning in an astronomical waste of energy.

Every third minute I am reminded of the noxious gifts you may have left for me in my body and soul. Every fourth minute I reframe my life’s trajectory, in light of your unsolicited visit. And every fifth minute, I hurl agonizingly, ridding myself of memories encoded in my genetic fibers. Five minutes. Is that all it took? Is that all it takes to tear down a tower constructed through years of effort, resilience, and pain? One quick blast and the foundation gives way. Successive thrusts that tear it apart, brick by brick. And an ultimate, parting shot that stains the land for generations to come. That ushers in, like a Trojan horse, a death worse than many other deaths.

Merely heartbeats ago, my dear friend, you split me. You drove a wedge in my body, carelessly carving many fragments. A hollow husk remains staring blankly at the corpse of ages past. Carrying many masks, the husk trudges through life slowly, wearing the contrived confidence of pained indifference. Yet it turns, every now and then, to stare at the corpse buried merely a few miles behind. A corpse that never slides out of sight.

Luxury offers one the chance to romanticize both life and death. Pain only offers tough lessons, tough love, and tough realities.

But in many, many ways, I am the Learnaean Hydra, because I don’t die that easily. You break down my tower, I camp out in the rubble.