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it's fading, finally, though tonight i fell asleep for
an instant and dreamed of closets and heat and
train whistles that never stopped and driving very
fast down streets that were unfamiliar with a familiar
hand on my thigh, music loud, aroma of sin and
sex in my nostrils and i woke up, jerked from sleep
by a scream only i could hear and looked at you,
sitting where i'm sitting now, and it must have looked
as if the demons of hell were chasing me because
you bolted out of the chair, saying over and over,
"what is it? what's wrong? denise? denise?"
and i couldn't say a word, could only cry for choices
i'd made that plunged me into a world of pain and betrayal
and despair and terror so deep it seemed bottomless at
the time.

you held me while i cried and asked quiet questions, only
one of which i could answer, "was i in your dream, denise?"
"no." "then you know you're all right because i'm here now."

yes.

i'm all right now because you're here, he's not
and even though there are no closets for
me to hide in, i still have the knives to put under
my pillow when i'm home alone. and you've
never lied to me, never, ever wanted to hurt me or use
me or pretended to be anything but what you are.

i'm all right now.

and the streets we fly down under the blue Alabama
sky are becoming more and more familiar to me.

"i had dinner with my parents there,"
i tell you. "my father and i bought the blinds
for my house at that store. my mom and i
shop for food there together.  i met mark there,
storm here, you in that place, remember that?

remember when you said,
'we can talk like you people, we just don't choose
to do so," and made me think, ' i want to be with that
man.' " and then a song comes on the radio and we both
sing it together, you with your hand on my thigh, the
same hand that takes the time to make sure i have
pleasure, too and i feel so safe with you that nothing
stops the pleasure, not fear or pain or lies or
games.

little by little i'm healing inside. the broken pieces
coming together, the time past making more and
more sense to me when i realize that i'm really ok now.
everything is really ok now.

it's only sometimes that i feel as if i can't breathe,
can't be alive another minute. only rare and isolated
moments when i truly believe there is nothing
to live for.

march 6th will be just another day on the
calendar and i'll laugh knowing he's asking her,
"how old am i? really, i forget sometimes.
i've got this white spot in my brain where courage
and honor and truth used to be, if they ever
were. how old am i?"

my life belongs to me and whomever i choose to
share it with. he is the past and i am the future and you
are my present and this living in the moment is so very,
very good that i don't think i'll ever spend another whole
day in the past crying over someone else's insanity and
lies and pretense.

so i sit here, quiet and peaceful and utterly fulfilled by
the love we've just made wanting nothing more than
one more day of knowing you, holding you, having you
hold my hand and singing to me the songs that make
me feel 17 and full of hope.

i'm not ready to say these words to you,
but i'll put them here:

i love you, glenn.

denise

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