My lowest lows were the nights you showed me kindness.
When you found me, I was lying with my face on the floor. My feet were cold. My hair was slick and sprawled. My nails scrapped into my skin. Baring.
i used to tell you i looked like my mother. you would assure me i didn’t, averting my gaze. “she’s colder”, you’d say. “you can feel the warmth in your face.” then you’d take my hand and guide me to another pub, where i’d lie about my age and you’d lie about the way we’d met. we’d slowly shift away from each other, in smoke, booze and grinding. i can’t remember when it was that you first hit me, but i do remember later staring at my bruised cheek in your bathroom mirror. thinking of how much i did look like my mother.
Because I do. I have her nose, her hair, her distance, her strained eyes. I have my father’s razors in my hands. In my skin.
You smacked the door open. I groaned lowly when it hit the back of my head.
“Are you fucking stupid?” you growled. I curled on the floor and covered myself in whimpers.
You leaned. I shrugged you off and rested my forehead against the toilet. You started screaming, and so did I. I started crying. You did too. You tried to kiss me and I gagged. You picked me up with an unfamiliar delicacy and placed me in the tub I had solely filled.
You cleaned my cuts, patched me up and ran the water warm. You played with my hair, softly, and brushed the dirt from my face. You combed my strands with your fingers, slowly kissing each patch. I shifted my thighs closed and purred. My hair stuck to my back, you caressed my head and murmured:
“You look like a mermaid.”
It was the first night you had showed me kindness in awhile, and I turned and watched you glazy-eyed and clung to you like I clung to all the Walt Whitman poems I had read in my dim-lit room four years ago, when I was fourteen, when I ate too much or too little, when my black T-shirts were sweaty, when I was not beautiful, when I would dream of dark-haired boys that would later hold my hand while we’d run to buy cigarettes.
But you were not a Walt Whitman poem. You were the boy who hit my head. And I was the girl who was bleeding on your floor.