A vicious cycle (a spoken word poem about an abusive relationship)

You asked me a simple question, but my answer was quite complicated. You asked “Why don’t you love me anymore?” and I thought about it for the first time ever, you see, my heart is a lockbox but I don’t have the key, it’s a room I never take the time to clean and I don’t think it’s that the idea of loving you went away. It just got shoved under the bed. Collecting cobwebs and forming into something that made the burning sensation in my chest go away. Because you started a forest fire in my heart and I thought all the pain was worth it for the heat, but you didn’t stick around to clean up the ashes and I became just another girl you wrecked. And if killing someone was on your bucket list, you can check it off a hundred times because you killed me every time you reminded me there were tons of other girls waiting to be set ablaze. You killed the old me that would have never set herself on fire to keep you warm. But no matter how long I burned I couldn’t get through to your ice cold heart. So why don’t I love you anymore? I’ve forgotten what the word even means, because I’ve called myself a romantic for so long bruised and bloodied filling out my police report of how i seem to keep getting mugged every time you’ve had one too many drinks. It kept people from finding out, I mean starting rumors. So in love with idea of love that I’d settle for any human company that could say the words “I love you.” Even if they didn’t mean it, even if they stuttered, hesitated, called me the wrong name, even when I placed my heart so gently in your hands just to watch you crush it in front of me and give a small smile saying sorry. And if you said sorry it was okay even if it wasn’t true. But I’m sure it was true I say to myself shoving the event under the carpet. I could at least keep some self respect. People look into my dead eyes and ask “Are you okay?” And of course I’ll tell you i’m great, more than great even, but my heart beats to the tune of help me. help me. help me. “But you’ll be all alone” i say to myself. Don’t help me. Don’t help me. Don’t help me. I grew up on a battlefield and everyone had a gun but me, I’m so used to taking bullets from people with shotgun tongues, it’s almost like I’m resistant to feeling. I mean feeling pain. And by resistance I mean shoving all my feelings in my closet and locking it shut. My heart keeps growing bigger and bigger so I have room to support all your tragic back stories and pretend that that makes up for the fact that you’re a fucking asshole. I miss you sometimes, I’ll admit. I think about how your hands tracing my skin were as soft as the lips you kissed me with, but then I remember that your words were as harsh as the taste of another girls lipgloss still resting on your mouth. I can’t think of you for more than a minute without crying and remembering if you keep poking at bruises then they never heal. But I can only despise you so much before it turns back into love. This vicious cycle is a washing machine and I’m getting dizzy from all the spinning. Our love was on and off and on and off again like a light switch. I, a dark empty room waiting for you to walk in and light me up again. I may have meant nothing to you, but you were everything to me. how could I still care about you? You asked me why don’t you love me anymore? and I just stood still, unable to break eye contact with your venomous green eyes. I can’t answer an untrue question. i hate it, but I still love you, but I can’t tell you that. Instead I tell you this. You jumped from me like I was a building that was about to collapse, and I held on hoping for the best. The building crumbled down on me, and I still blame you for all the rubble left in my heart, in my bones, i was the goddamn building. My body is still sore from the impact. You gave that same small smile and walked away. I don’t think you understood, I can’t even understand. And maybe instead of going home and washing away the butterflies in my stomach you gave me with vodka, I might just take some pills and go to bed. But then… I’d be alone again.

– t.l.j

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