Time Stood Still

TRIGGER WARNING: DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE, RAPE

 

May 13, 2005
On a dingy bathroom floor in a house full of addicts, she waited. The test sat on the counter, scarce inches away, yet she couldn’t look. One… two… three minutes passed. It was now or never. Her hands shaking, she picked up her future, wrapped in a disguise of plastic and paper and urine. Positive. She closed her eyes, unsure if she was relieved or disappointed. Time stood still.

January 27, 2006
The hospital was crowded, as if everyone in a fifty mile radius had decided to give birth right then and there. A blur of lights and sleep and strange beeps and frantic calls and pain, oh the pain! She couldn’t quite remember how or why she had ended up in the operating room or why they wouldn’t let her hold her daughter right away or anything beyond the overwhelming agony that every second away from the child caused. A bundle was placed in her arms – The bluest eyes she’d ever seen, the blackest hair, the most perfect little mouth. The world melted away and she finally knew the meaning of her life.

July 15, 2006
She could smell the whiskey on his breath before he entered the room. Her heart beat faster as she clutched her baby closer. One foot out the window, easy does it, twist and turn and grab the ledge … – his hand wrapped around hers and in a single breath she was on the bedroom floor again. The baby bawled in his arms as he hurled accusation after accusation, stepping more firmly on her throat with every uttered syllable. Her life flashed before her eyes and in the moment before the stars became darkness, time stood still.

June 1, 2007
He stumbled in at 9am, drunk, though god knows he’d gone to work last night. She lay awake – eyes closed, breathing regular – hoping he’d think she was still asleep. Their daughter stirred; a heavenly coo from the cradle next to their bed. She jumped up to attend before his clumsy hands could reach the tiny being, but not before a slurred “Stunned cunt, let me sleep” escaped his lips as he collapsed into the pillows. When the darkness overcame him, she methodically packed her belongings and drove to the new apartment across town. Furniture would have to wait, but in that moment, her life started over.

December 17, 2011
The night was young, the music loud, the tequila flowing freely. Across the table, he winked and smiled and she had never felt so sexy. The bar closed, the after party started, and before she knew it, 3am had arrived and it was only the two of them awake. He kissed her, she kissed back, he reached up her skirt. She said no. He stopped. He tried again. The no became more urgent. He conceded and allowed her to drift into unconsciousness. She awoke long enough to kick him and roll over as he peeled her panties off, then returned to the nothingness she had been roused from. Seconds… minutes… ages later, her mind snapped out of the fog, feeling him inside her, momentum building, grunts of pleasure escaping his lips. Her body froze. Words caught in her throat. As he emptied himself into her, time stood still.

July 19, 2013
Eight hours of magic was coming to a close. She thought it was going well, but one could never quite tell with a first date. They placed a bet on the last bowling match – if he won, she had to say yes to a second date. She lost, albeit unintentionally, though she was far from disappointed at the prospect of more time in his company. He walked her to her car; she thanked him for a wonderful day. The sun was setting just behind him, a brilliant cascade of light gleaming over his left shoulder. He hugged her and she could feel the restless energy stirring within him. In a moment of impulsive desire, she pressed her lips to his and held on tightly as the rest of the world became irrelevant.

November 8, 2013
They lay in bed, her head on his chest, his arms protectively cocooning her. He kissed her goodnight, and just as he was dozing off, a timid whisper asked if he was still awake. Now alert, he asked her why. Seconds passed as she took a calming breath and responded with some off-pitch statement about needing to tell him something. With a hint of suspicion, he probed her intentions. Her heart beat faster as she attempted to gather her courage. “I love you,” she breathed, barely audible, as she buried her face in his neck. He gently lifted her chin, gazing into her eyes through the dark. “I love you,” he responded, kissing her tenderly as time stood still.

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Doubt.

Some days, it’s just hard – hard to get up, hard to put a smile on, hard to do the day to day things that everyone takes for granted. Some days, I doubt everything that I am and everything that I do. Today is one of those days.

I feel unworthy. I feel like I’m not pretty enough, not funny enough, not smart enough… not anything enough. I feel needy and overly emotional and like I need a giant hug. Of course, for the next eleven hours, I’m sitting in an office full of people who really couldn’t care less how I feel, and then I have an hour and a half drive before I can even get a hug.

I don’t want to be that girl who always questions, and Jedi has given me no reason to doubt his sincerity. However, I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m not enough. I feel that everything in my life has more or less fallen into place and because I have done nothing to deserve it, it’s all going to blow up in my face.  Logically, I know I’m being irrational, and that – Que sera, sera – whatever will be, will be. But I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m waiting for the bad news, the pain, the heartache… because that’s what I know.

I don’t want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hate having so much negativity floating around me. But right now, I just want someone to tell me it’s all going to be okay.

R.W.K.

I began forgetting you slowly.

At first, it was tiny memories
That fell by the wayside:
The sound of you closing the bedroom door
Your bare feet padding across the lineoleum
The whispered “good night” as you wrapped yourself around me
And drifted into oblivion.

Next, I forgot how you looked in the morning,
Tousled hair and sleepy eyes,
That sexy, half-awake voice
And, yes, even your morning breath
(Which, truthfully, I was happy to not recall)

After the first few faded memories, forgetting picked up speed.

I forgot your favourite football team (Lions?)
And your favourite milkshake (strawberry? definitely strawberry)
I forgot the way you’d say my name
And the crinkle by your eyes when you really laughed.

I forgot the feeling of your arms around me
And the tickle of your breath against my cheek.
I forgot the butterflies you gave me
And the million sweet words
And the seventy-five unpleasant ones
(Because we did fight once or twice)

Slowly, you faded
Then all at once you were gone.

Now, although I know your eyes are blue,
I cannot recall their depth.
Though I know your lips are soft,
I have forgotten their touch.

And although I know I loved you
I cannot remember how
or when
or why.

© T. Kalau 2013

On Love and Loss

“December 24th and we’re through again.
This time for good I know because I didn’t
throw you out — and anyway we waved.

No shoes. No angry doors.
We folded clothes and went
our separate ways.

You left behind that flannel shirt
of yours I liked but remembered to take
your toothbrush. Where are you tonight?

Richard, it’s Christmas Ever again
and old ghost come back home.
I’m sitting by the Christmas tree
wondering where did we go wrong.

Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.

There should be stars for great wars
like ours. There ought to be awards
and plenty of champagne for the survivors.

After all the years of degradations,
the several holidays of failure,
there should be something
to commemorate the pain.

Someday we’ll forget that great Brazil disaster.
Till then, Richard, I wish you well.
I wish you love affairs and plenty of hot water,
and women kinder than I treated you.
I forget the reason, but I loved you once,
remember?

Maybe in this season, drunk
and sentimental, I’m willing to admit
a part of me, crazed and kamikaze,
ripe for anarchy, loves still.”

“One Last Poem for Richard” by Sandra Cisneros

 

It’s true, I admit it. Boyfriend and I are done. Have been for awhile, actually. While the Titanic sunk beneath me, I stood on the deck praying for a miracle, all the while knowing that deliverance would not arrive.

Everything was perfect, and then it wasn’t. Looking back, I can’t pinpoint the precise moment where it all started to unravel. Maybe it was the first fight. Maybe it was the second. Maybe it was when I stopped buying his groceries and cleaning his house because I only had the time and money to take care of myself. Maybe it was all of these things and maybe it was none of them. My perfect faerietale turned into something I didn’t want. My prince became an ogre… and I wasn’t about to stand for it.

I could do a lot of finger-pointing at his issues with his ex, or his questionable nights out with random girls, or his hidden sexist agenda that appeared five months in. But the truth of the matter is – I miss him.

I called it off. Yes, I’m the bad guy there. It hurts to know that someone you love is not right for you, was not right for you from day one and will never be right for you. It hurts to know that you, once again, gave your whole heart to someone who wasn’t able to treat it the way it deserves. It hurts to know he’s already moved on.

But now… now I need to live my life for me. I need to take care of myself. I need to mourn. And I need to make sure that the next time I give my heart, he’s playing for keeps.