The terrible feeling surges through her body; like waves crashing to shore on a moonless night, she knows they will keep coming, one after another, whether she’s ready or not. It’s her fault. She should know better by now. She brought this onto herself. Each wave is a surge of pain; she doesn’t know how to overcome the dark undulations, or even, how to anchor her feet in the soft sand long enough to withstand the riptide dragging her out to sea.
On mornings like this, she finds it hard to do more than breathe, so she tries to find solace in the bottom of the tub where she curls up and wishes that she could die. On days like this, she can’t think about what is hiding behind the distant horizon, she can only think about the seashells that wash to shore like promises already broken.
Water pelts against her back, so cold it could almost be mistaken for a fierce winter storm. The shower has been running over her folded body for- she doesn’t know how long. The ice cold water runs through her tangled hair and trickles over her face; it drips down her nose, and splashes onto her bony, white hands which are smashed between her forehead and the bottom of the tub. She sees her arms are purple, and in a place that feels far away, she knows she is shivering, but at the same time she feels as if she is slowly being roasted over an open flame. It's hard to breath; her chest is constricted as if in a tightly bound in a corset. She tries panting, a quick in-and-out, to stop the slow feeling of suffocation. At the same time, she swallows continuously to keep her mouth from feeling like a desert and to contain the raging turmoil that is her stomach.
Memories and fantasies intertwine behind her eyes as she tries to focus on anything that offers an escape from this horrible feeling.
After awhile, she tries sitting up, bursts of light brighter than a camera flash, blind her from behind her eyes. Shades of reds and yellows penetrate the matrix of suspended darkness making her feel dizzy and faint. She runs her fingers from the top of her scalp down to the bottom of her hair- trying to grab a hold of herself and shake this aching sensation-Breathing deeply like in a meditation exercise; she tries to “will” away the pulsating sensation.
Exhaling she curls back up, exhausted. Her hands and arms shaking- Why…Why…Why does she keep going back for more, when it hurts this bad? When she knows the racing, exhilaration of the night dissolves into this terrible, throbbing day?
She knows why she can’t say no; why goes back for more, again and again, like an addict. She doesn’t want to let him go- She needs him. Losing him, she’s convinced, would be worse than this sickness. It would open that black abyss where she’s truly alone, where there is nothing worth living for, where there is nothing worth saving.
That there will be nothing if she lets go- this is the fear that binds her to him. And it’s the fear that holds her. It's almost funny, she thinks, the first time she didn’t want to say yes to him, to make this okay, but the fear she fights with now was there then; she didn’t want him to leave but on some level, she realized letting him stay hurt her worse than her fear.
He said “don’t worry love, it will be okay- you’ll enjoy it” as he tapped her vein.
He smiled at her as she sat back against the wall. A fleeting knowledge passed through her, he was water running through her hands.
Then the sweet rush took a hold of her, and her world seemed beautiful again. It felt as if before, she lived in a world that was a rough pencil sketch compared to the exploding colors that existed in this twilight’s grace. Out the window, she could see the sky fading to gray, but she thought this time, it will be okay and he will stay.
But as the hours passed to the beat of radio songs, she knew the feeling was too good to be true as a burning hunger awoke inside; a wanting, like a bon-fire still smoldering- still desiring to be fire, long after the waves have tried to claim it. She remembered the panic as the initial rush of wonder retreated slowly, and its’ memory imprinted itself deep inside every bone, every muscle and into every fiber, that a new dependence had changed nothing.
He had succeeded in making her give in, again.
Storm clouds stained the horizon; sneaking in quietly, not yet ready to announce its’ intentions. She knew, if she got up to look, he would be gone. He never stayed when she needed him, but she knew he would come back because he liked- his influence over her good intentions.
In her mind, she was sitting on the beach examining an old scar that she couldn't remember how she got, but knew that it still itched in the heat. The tide was coming in, swirling around her feet; colder and deeper each rolling wave engulfing her further. Or was she walking willing further into the sea? She couldn’t remember anymore. But, she knew this feeling was all too familiar.
On mornings like this, it’s hard to breathe; curled up in the bottom of the tub searching for solace. Hoping that tearing off the scab is better than this slow death. On days like this, she tries to remember blue skies and the promise of finding a whole sand dollar.