I sit here with you. Alone in the dark.
Except it’s not dark, the darkness is inside me.
You are all around me, wrapped tightly about me like a lover.
You’ve been with me as long as I can remember.
I dreamt of being rescued from you as a child and a teenager.
I felt you most keenly in the years after coming to this country.
But nothing compares to how terrifying you’ve been in the last 8 years.
You terrify me so much that for a lot of years I turned towards anyone and everyone who could take me away from you, no matter how briefly. I clung to them and wished they would never leave.
I clung to them despite the despicable things they did to me. No matter how much they hurt me, it didn’t compare to what I felt when I was alone with you.
But they left. Always they left.
And here I am again alone with you. My most terrifying companion that never leaves.
I wish I could learn to love you, despite your terror.
So far, I haven’t been able to.
I numb the senses with fruitless activity, never getting anything done, but keeping oh so busy.
Just so I don’t have to acknowledge you. Look at you. Feel you.
I feel you on my skin. In my belly. Upon my shoulders. A heavy weight that never leaves. A gnawing deep inside me that never stops.
I don’t know how to make peace with you.
I’m afraid to let you all the way into my heart. It’s my last stand. I’ve kept you at bay this long, maybe I can keep going just one more day.
Sometimes the despair of your company abates, if I keep busy.
Other times even though I am busy, you are there. I move through you like a fly through molasses. Every action forced out of necessity. Out of obligation.
Sleep is my only escape. When I sleep I can’t feel you. I entertain dreams of being loved and important and necessary.
When I awake, you pour yourself down my throat, into my belly, reminding me that I am still alone, needed only by my kids, necessary only to them.
I exist only because they need me and love me. I exist only in relation to them. The rest of the world goes by without a single ripple made by me.
You suffocate me. You kill my light.
But I am still here. I haven’t died because of you. I’ve been able to bear you, even if only minute by minute.
I used to think I couldn’t bear to live with you. I was sure I would die.
But here I am. Alive. Getting through each day. Going through the motions of life. But I am here.
You haven’t destroyed me. Not yet.
One day, I will plumb the depths of you, when I am able. I will surrender myself to you and see if you can kill me. I suspect you won’t.
For now, I will sit here with you, my only companion.