As I’ve been attending my weekly therapy sessions over the last month, I have started allowing my mind to reopen to my past self. These are the parts of me that have been overshadowed by an abusive relationship that took away some of the most important years of my life. The parts of me I forgot were ever there. Last night I looked back at some of my old writing from college and wept. The pieces were so vulnerable, so confused, so congested, so raw, so honest. I recognized though that most of my writing was about my abuser. It was as though writing about him would somehow help me to understand how to finally save him.
Tonight, I searched through the old documents again and was relieved to find some pieces that were free of him, and it reminded me that I knew how to write without him. Better, in fact. I have decided to start sharing a few of those pieces moving forward, mostly because I want to try to get back to the writer I once was, but also to continue removing my false image of him from my stories.
I hunger to tunnel back to the “me” before “he,” and I thought what a better way to start than with the almighty “He”?
“GOD IS IN THE TURQUOISE”
First Draft: March 12, 2010
Last Updated: May 1, 2019
When I was three years old, I choked on a smooth turquoise gem in the back of my mom’s 1985 tan Oldsmobile. I had popped it into my mouth like an M&M to see what it tasted like. I used to stick it up to my eye and pretend I was in the ocean, playing in its strong and dangerous waves, and thought maybe it’d taste like the salty water of the Flordia Gulf Coast my dad used to surf. He told me how it burned cuts, pruned fingers and wrinkled lips. As the glass gem floated like a surfboard on the saliva of my tongue, I pretended it was a sour Warhead candy and puckered my lips, accidentally letting the jewel slither down my windpipe. I made a gagging sound and wrapped my hands around my throat as my parents taught me if I ever started choking. My mom pulled over once she realized what was happening through the rearview mirror, and raced to my side of the car door in the back only to realize I had already coughed it up on my own. I pushed my car seat into my stomach until it popped back into my hand. A string of clear spit dangled between my four fingers and thumb, slowly dripping and soaking into the fabric of my car seat as I held out the shiny gem in my palm to my mother for proof that I was safe again.