THE BRUISES YOU LEFT HER
After Your Son Has a Beautiful Voice by Sierra Demulder
TW: domestic violence, sexual assault
Once, with a hushed voice into a cell phone, she told me how you were sick.
How she loved you and how you took care of her. How she really believed she needed you.
How she feared losing you and how you feared losing her. How your love was tender, that you were the best friend she was never looking for.
How you proposed, telling me the truth this time, that it wasn’t so much a proposal as a death threat. How you stole her diary and yelled at her, calling her a whore, then cried and begged for forgiveness. How you started by kicking her, always in the stomach, never on the face. How sometimes this happened when I was sleeping in the next room. How, when her friends praised your gentleness, your kindness, your sweetness, she was wondering if we knew what she did.
How, when she left, you broke into her house and choked her and told her that you loved her. How she wanted to file a police report, but the officer on the scene advised her not to. How self-defense laws apply to three white men in the Bible belt, but not to a woman who fights back. How she tried to get a restraining order and your lawyer tried to use her stolen diaries as proof that she was a slut.
How she had to hide in the back room of her store, telling her coworkers to say she was not there, as you showed up everywhere you thought she might be. How, when she called the cops when you would park outside her house all night, they said that you legally had not done anything wrong.
How she had to move across the country to escape you, but that she never stopped looking over her shoulder and checking her rearview mirror for your car with you in the driver's seat, following her.
How the nightmares never stopped.
How the shame was the only thing that kept her warm at night.
How she prays for you in church.
The bruises you left her never changed her faith in God,
They never changed her love for her friends,
They never changed her fire for her future.
The bruises you left scarred her,
But they didn’t accomplish what you wanted.