I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve forgotten how to read.
Hell, I’ve even forgotten how to live.
I’ve forgotten how to smile and make conversation. I’ve forgotten how to make my eyes light up when my lips stretch from side to side.
I only know how to drink copious amounts of water with lemon squeezed in and a daily bowl of instant noodles with fresh lemon and coriander.
I know how to walk for hours a day, amassing over 20,000 steps to nowhere and running my eyes over hundreds of houses decorated flamboyantly for Christmas.
Sometimes, Christmas is the worst time ever. I don’t blame people for wanting to celebrate a non birthday at this time. People need something to look forward to in this dreary, grey, dull time of year. They need magical lights and bright tinsel to light up the darkness. When the sun comes out, flooding weak rays through naked trees, heat dissipating with the low lying mist that spreads damp fingers along every crack and crevice, every hole in clothes, I feel depressed.
I remember the smell of stale cigarettes. A hacking laugh. Tall, gaunt, skeletal. Long feet with bony white toes. Filthy kitchen, deceased dog. Cigarettes. Dependancy on a puff of weed. Unkempt pale brown hair. Long, face, large head. Skinny, skinny pale legs. Disgusting jokes about kicking me in a place no woman should ever be kicked. Hacking laugh.
I realised yesterday that I really did ruin my life. That even when I do want to publish my book, I can’t put my name on it. Because he will find it and then find me. I have no freedom because I am still afraid of him. No, petrified. That even in my happiest moments he is lurking somewhere in the background and I can’t ever escape, and I always, always have to be careful.
I realised that I threw everything away because I was a stupid, stupid girl.
I realised that I still think about him.
I laugh at a joke and then my insides suddenly curl up and a stinking, dripping rot spreads through my gut and I feel sick with fear because I am reminded of him. I hate that I am reminded of him.
And at night I still lie awake and tremble. For hours and hours. When my husband falls asleep I turn on the lamp because I can’t bear to lie in the darkness. Sometimes in my house I can smell that faint, sickly sweet smell of cigarettes and dirty clothes and I want to hurl. I rush around putting all the candles on and scrubbing until my fingers are raw.
The smell is in my mind. It is not real. But I can smell it as though it is there. I think I am going mad. I clean and clean and clean but I can still smell it. It makes me feel dirty.
I hate this country. I hate these people. I hate this atmosphere. I hate this season. And I have given up trying to catch up with the world. It has long left me by the wayside.
I also loathe myself for allowing myself to make such a stupid mistake.
I realised that I have not healed. And even when I think I have, the dreary winter sun will come out and remind me forcefully, miserably, that I have not. I think all my happiness has been sucked out by him and I will never ever feel joy again.
And it’s been more than three years. I don’t know when I will stop feeling like this.