The world’s a beast of burden
You’ve been holding on a long time
And all this longing…
Would you have it any other way?
You couldn’t have it any other way…
Lay me down
And let the only sound
Be the overflow…
What The Water Gave Me – Florence + The Machine

So cold, it makes me so alive…

The frigid water invades the frayed faux-leather of my snakeskin boots as I wade a step deeper. It swirls around my exposed calves and swishes in between my toes, coaxing me in ever so slowly. My mascara begins to run as the tears come; trickles at first and then bursting into small torrents of regret and relief. I am finally going to do it. I’m finally going to be free of this constant static in my head.

The water’s come up to my knees. The pebbles have given way to marshy silt that squelch with each step, sucking my feet in. Each step is slightly harder as I wade deeper. I can see lights on the other side, winking off and on, almost beckoning. Swim across, they seem to say, leave your past on yonder shore and start afresh. It is tempting, so beguiling, to just let a swim cleanse me. But I cannot undo the mistakes that have littered my path here, and I will not forgive the hurts that have crippled my soul and brought it to its knees.

The slightly browning cloud of disturbed filth advances before me like a herald. The cold numbs the stinging on my buttocks and upper thighs, the ‘not so little’ scratches; his little gift to me. I feel almost cheated, the stinging had kept me sane, kept from screaming the horror that clouded my judgement as he pushed me into the alley and put the knife to my neck. I whimpered as he groped for my lace panties, tearing them off to put his filthy fingers into me, checking if I was ready like I was some sort of oven. He took me violently on the cobbled street. He made me look at him as he used me, glorying in my filmy eyes and quivering lip as I tried my best not to cry. He didn’t bother to close his fly; just withdrew when he was done and crawled off me.
“Consider this pro-bono.” He cackled before he turned and ran away.
It wouldn’t have hurt as much if he’d buried the blade in my side. To him; I wasn’t even human, it wasn’t any different from jimmying a vending machine. He isn’t the first to dehumanise me, but he will definitely be the last.

Walking is almost torturous now. Each step drags me deeper into the mire as the added weight from the circle of weights tied to my waist causes my feet to sink deeper. Just like how each time made me lose a little more hope that I’d ever get out.
“You’re pretty as a button,” Lucinda would say, “not an old hag like me hiding behind a wall of makeup.
“All the pretty ones get out. You will too.”
But instead, each one dragged me deeper down, adding to my despair. One or two came along throwing me little buoys of niceties. A warm bed, a hot meal, intellectual discourse. And just when my fingers began to grasp, they sailed away. Lucinda’s words would haunt me,
“Paste on that smile like you’re in a pageant, treat them well; even the bastards. Someone will notice you… eventually.”

The small eddies break around my breasts. The tissue paper filling the pockets of space in my brassiere soak and float to the surface, and slowly drift away. My small breasts swim in the now empty bra and a wistful laugh gurgles out of me. What am I, if not a walking irony. A voracious reader whose reading habits started because she snuck off to libraries so she could sleep in peace and quiet. A child navigating an unforgiving world in nothing but garish makeup,oversized underwear and undersized clothes; a depressed prostitute tottering in heels, a dreamer living a nightmare.

A scream escapes as the silt gives way beneath my feet. It is quickly silenced by a mouthful of water. My legs kick involuntarily to propel me upwards, a skill drilled into me from childhood lessons at the community pool. I rise a little, then sink interminably slow. The air rushes out of my lungs in a flurry of bubbles. I gasp and water rushes in to fill the void. My arms flap wildly and my chest heaves as it tries to fight me, but neither of us are winning. I tire quickly and the involuntary flailing stop and in a moment of unprecedented clarity, I can see beyond my melancholy. The beauty of weightlessness, my body and all it’s scars, testimonies to my torment, naught but an afterthought. Is this what peace is like? Is this what I have been searching for?


This therapeutic writing was brought to you by my partner in crime, amongst other things, @edgothboy.
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