Erin’s story: stars in my eyes

Erin’s story: stars in my eyes

Please answer the phone. Please answer the phone. Please answer the fucking phone. Dead tone.
Beep beep beep.
Those beeps became such a feeble connection to the regular world, such wholesome little beeps, like the excitement of watching a truck back up when you’re 4 years old. Thoughts reach to 4 years old and you’re wiping away tears. So, help me. Again, we are breathless.
“Again, again, again.” The pavement echoed back at me from between my legs, though everything was echoing then. My head was drunk and low and tranquilized. I watched the gutter wash my heart down the storm drain. Felt it beating still in my chest somehow, lifeless but very much alive.
“I made you breakfast.” Unable to remember the footsteps back to the apartment door, or how I got past that divot in the pavement with these godforsaken high heels on. All I was allowed to wear, all that was permitted of me was beauty; tearless, high status beauty like the reflection that shone in my eyes, his merciless face. I begged none from him.
He only stared then. He knew what he did, but did it matter? If it mattered to me, we might have a problem. A problem if I showed that it mattered to me. I was smarter than that already, well acquainted with lines and verses. Well-read in fake dialogue and holding on.
“Can we talk about last night?” I waited until he was between bites, food growing cold, him moaning in delight, one of my second least favorite sounds. Second to him telling me he couldn’t love me if I remained who I was. Essentially, I packed up everything I had been and decided to ship it off. Blame my parents. Feign forgiveness and healing and sacrifice. I could be whoever he needed, because without him my thoughts might devour and conquer me. What would I have then? Shipments of emotional baggage, always circling back to me.
“What is there to talk about?” He dared me to set a boundary with him.
“I.. I..” I cleared my throat. “I didn’t like it. I didn’t really expec-”
“You loved it. Don’t sit here and tell me you didn’t love it.”
His eyes begged surrender, or maybe it was my heart, my throbbing skull or the fresh bruises on my ribcage.
“You’re right, I’m sorry, I’m just not used to that, I just have to get used to it.”
He got up to rinse our dishes, while I pondered the sky outside his window. The low basement window, I felt buried in his apartment, sitting in my tomb, in a casket, the thought brought me peace.
“Can you bring me my phone?” A friendlier voice would make this better, pretending it didn’t hurt would make this better.
He hocked it at my face, sat in the chair next to me with a grin of malice across his. Time to beg, time to worship, to plead, to make amends before his fists caught up with his head.
“What’s wrong baby?” I cooed in his ear, as he shoved me to the floor. Favors will come back to bite you. Every time.
“What the fuck are your friends talking about?”
I looked down at my phone. One text message. I think you’re in a really toxic relationship.
God forbid I was ever honest with anyone.
The rest was a blur of me apologizing to him, trying to emphasize over and over again that no one’s opinion mattered but mine and I loved him.
5 minutes later I’m walking across the city in high heels, with bleeding palms, bleeding feet, and bruised ribs.
12 hours earlier we were having sex in his car.
12 hours earlier I agreed to give him everything he wanted because he was still everything I wanted.
2 months earlier we were in the mountains, and I was sick on a mountainside and he barked at me instead of taking care of me. 2 months earlier we had sex for the second time, this time I had to smother him or he wouldn’t have me. I slept on the couch the whole trip, the whole romantic getaway because I couldn’t fuck him good enough and he didn’t feel comfortable with me in the same bed with him. 2 months earlier I was clutching my aunt’s sweater to my chest, breathing in her scent, asking the ghost of her to help me through the remaining days I was stranded in the middle of nowhere with him.
2 months earlier I had my first film reel of horrible situations play out in my dreams and ignored them. He apologized, he went away to Italy, and the more I had rough, abrasive sex with him, the better things were with us. Always after we finished I would sit and cry in the bathroom, look myself in the eye and wonder who was hurting worse.
“You want to have sex with me too badly.” Rolling over to talk to the pillows, he was fed up with me again.
What do you say to that?
“is that… bad?” This had to be another one of his games.
“It’s a fucking turn off. I can’t do it if you want it too bad, I can’t get aroused and I can’t cum if I know that you want it that bad.”
All my stomach acid curdled in my throat. How could he be turned off by me wanting him? Naivety slept with me that night, kept me warm so that I didn’t have to shiver alone with his words.
I had to love him, had to love him. You know what? I did love him. He was a valuable friend to me at times, in moments between moments that bled. He was a valuable, wonderful, supportive, intelligent man. I admired him. I admired him so much.
“I need to have kinky sex, you know?” Puppy dog eyes.
“I’ve never, really.. I don’t know can we ease into it?”
“I dunno, I’ve been waiting a really long time, I just don’t think you’re ready for what I need.”
That rejection that rips the guts from the soul. That earth shattering rejection that makes my insides feel empty and swollen simultaneously. He knew that, my sweet, intuitive man.
“Your anger turns me on.”
I just needed him to love me. When you need someone to love you that much, your pheromones become an animalistic scent for predators. Delicious, dangerous, reaction points. Hook. Line. Sinker.
“Okay, we can do it, just tell me what to do.”
I did what he wanted from that moment on. Took his every command and used the time we were having sex to make grand plans in my head, wasting myself away on fantasies that wouldn’t throttle me the way he did.
I loved having sex with him after that, because it was dream time. As a writer, I got a lot of work done in those moments where I could will myself to leave the room entirely. Psychological word: dissociation. My word: survival.
I tried to remember all this while I walked across the city, focusing on my bleeding feet and not the lack of air moving through my lungs. He called.
“Let’s talk, please.”
Not long after that he came to pick me up.
“I wrote you a breakup letter, but I burned it. You’re impossible but I love you so much I will try to make this work.” He loved me. Hook. Line. Sinker. Sold. All I ever wanted, my whole life was to be loved. My bones were deprived of it, they milked my every wound searching for it. Love always did feel like razors in the throat to me. Perfect match.
I knew that if I stayed, we would find a way to get me to react less to what had happened 12 hours earlier. When we were having sex in his car. When no one was answering the phone, when I lay awake all night wondering if I could get passed it. Oh, I reasoned with myself. This was all a grand overreaction and I was a dramatic little work. So many people would have loved that.
I google searched it. Maybe not so many people. I always prided myself on being different. I always was a good liar when it came to communicating with myself.
12 hours earlier, we started this argument as far as I was concerned. But if he was staying, then I would put it away.
The meteor shower was beautiful, it was supposed to change our lives. All the stars going on daring escapades, dancing just for us. The sky; marveling in strip tease glory. We waited, we bated our breath, throwing 20-dollar bills at the milky way begging to see the luxuries of our earth mother, skin and bones and all. You lose a little bit of emotional weight when you stare at the sky long enough, when you allow the sex of your deepest self, pool into the depths of our grandest reflections. When you remember you are begging yourself to expose her beauty because you a part of the whole thing after all. Tears fall from your eyes as meteors shoot across the sky, and suddenly the sand in your hair is not so uncomfortable.
“I swear I just fell in love with you all over again.” I don’t think I felt this for him, but for the show above us, for the ethereal feeling of belonging the night sky gives you when she dances for you. For the sound of children laughing all around us and the sand between my toes. I didn’t think I’d ever be uncomfortable again.
I can’t remember what he said back. He was fed up with the laughing children, the cold air, the love I soaked in and couldn’t get enough of.
“Let’s get out of here. Find a better place to look at the stars.”
We got out on the side of the road, making sure no houses were in sight, so we wouldn’t be trespassing on anyone’s beautiful starry night.
“I really want to fuck you right now.” He whispered in my ear. Nothing about the night felt sexual to me, more like a coming together of everything. I felt reborn. I thought it must be a picture-perfect time for the unveiling of our human bodies. Something like making love.
“But I want to fuck you the way I want.”
We got back in the car, I was silent the whole way. Submission, I guess. Submersion of the self within the self-trying to hide. Mistaken for submission.
We pulled over and he put his belt around my neck. Dragged me out of his car onto the gravel road. I stood up, or tried to
“It hurts.”
He got angry. Threw the belt to the ground and tried to leave me there alone, shirtless and half strangled.
“I thought you might be a masochist but you can’t even handle a little bit of pain.”
I was scared, I was cold, I was half naked laying on a gravel road and I knew that the only way to survive this would be to crawl across it.
“Okay, it’s fine, I just need to stop overthinking it.”
I was waiting so long for the actual sex part to start. He dragged me across that road, my skin bleeding, all the stars gone from the sky. He didn’t touch my body once, he touched his own while he yelled at me.
“You’re a worthless bitch. A coward. A piece of shit. You mean nothing. You’re just a useless whore.”
I focused on silence. The crickets in the fields around us. The feeling of the gravel itself and the way it moved across my skin.
He dragged me back into the car. Tied the belt around the passenger seat and we drove.
Choking on my breath, waiting for his hands to reach my skin, his eyes were on the road and my stomach was in my throat, pulsing under my trachea. I looked out the window and thought “what If I suffocated right now, and this was all over?” I felt guilty for thinking that about the man I loved, the man whose face had given me so much joy, who’s soft touch had brought sparks to my feeble heart and life to my eyes, who had wandered with me to the basic terrors of my skull and held my hand through the retelling of my past, who had gentle eyes and a beautiful, beautiful smile heaven sent and melodic in a strictly visual way. Breathless, in so many ways with him.
He lifted my shirt and started touching my body, reveling in his complete and utter control. The sky was dark now, pitch black, all light shows over, all light gone from my eyes. Headlights shone on me, so strangers could view my breasts.
“I like having you on display like this.” He sounded so happy, a happiness I thought was unattainable in him I now found out I just had to sacrifice small parts of my spirit to achieve it.
Everyone who drove passed us could see my bare, white flesh exposed. I wondered if any of them thought to do anything, I wondered if by some grace of God one of them might have noticed the belt around my neck and tried to do something. They probably didn’t notice as much as my vulnerable, naked body made me believe they did, but their stares were loud. I watched the trees go by around us as he moved his hands down my body and began touching me. I focused on how good it felt, physically and imagined a soft, gentle intimate exchange. We were in a bed, no belts and leather, just soft loving arms and authentic concern. I practiced the art of theatre, imagined I was on a set, and this was all an act, I did so many wild things with my imagination but it was all end-stopped when he pulled out a jack knife.
“what are you doing?” I tried not to sound scared. He thrust his hand away from me angrily. He pulled my shirt back down.
“It’s such a fucking turn off when you’re not into this shit. I feel like you’re always lying to me.”
I didn’t know what to say.
“If you just let me cut your leg a little bit, that would make me feel so much better.”
He ran his finger across my thigh, next to my groin and I almost wanted to let him split my artery wide open and end the whole fucking thing right then and there. But I couldn’t
“No. Just keep doing what you were doing and I’ll think about it.” I led him on, by complying to simpler demands. Survival.
This was all consensual, right? The tears streaming down my face, my moans cracking in my throat while I tried to fight back grand, dramatic sobs, they were all exactly as it should be, right? Maybe everyone felt this way, this taken advantage of, this incapable of saying no, this heightened ability to blame the self for every single stupid mistake he drew with his fingers. I thought I could make it home this way, just let him touch me the whole way home, pretend I was enjoying it and then go to bed and worry about tomorrow when it came.
Until his fist collided with my stomach and the meteor shower started again. I stopped breathing. I gripped his arm while I gasped for air, trying to keep myself upright with the wind knocked out of me, hanging myself with his belt. The buckle hit my feet and they throbbed too.
“You’re so fucking dramatic.”
I couldn’t breathe to reply to him, I curled up with my face against the cold glass of the window and talked my inner child into breathing again, told her that she was going to be okay, that we were almost through this, that it would end, that it would stop, that eventually we would leave this car. I choked and gasped and tried to be grateful that at least some part of him wanted me to live enough to take the belt off. And then I apologized for the rest of the night for my body’s overreaction. For making him uncomfortable and ashamed of his needs. For not being able to talk faster through my short gasps and bruised, sore ribs. For being scared.
I could put that all away now, if he would help me. His sad, blue eyes, damaged from the unrelenting storm of his life showed me remorse, though we never did talk about his apologetics or the way he felt sorry for what he did. I guess those confessions existed only in myself.
“I love you too, everything’s fine.”
I can’t explain to you how the scruff of his facial hair felt simultaneously like razor blades and soft kisses from mother earth herself. As long as he was with me I would never have to face what he did, because the void would be too loud for me to catch up and hear it echo.
Everything was fine, for a while.
“I feel like you hate my body.”
Always this, the reason I had to adhere to his demands and do things I never knew I was even capable of. The constant incessant need of him to be validated about his own existence made my insecurities feel like tiny pin pricks in a swollen sun. I had to do it, had to love him, his thirst was insatiably harmful, but insatiable nonetheless and if there’s anything I am it’s determined to love people exactly how they want to be. Oh, the child in me. His pained existence and haunted past made it almost easy to love him, what made it absolutely unavoidable was the unpredictable spider like movements of his intentions, feasting on your senses and devouring your intuition, making it impossible to predict what he could do next.
Everything was premised this way, “if you love me, you will let me strangle you.”
When you grow up, not knowing what love is, you don’t have any way to verify these facts, you have no sure-fire way to define your own experience and know where boundaries should be drawn in the sand. you just walk home every night feeling like you’re fighting for your life to love someone who doesn’t seem entirely concerned if you even remain alive. Someone who calls you a freak, a pathetic, unlovable freak. But someone who can fix you. Who has fixed so many people it’s second nature to him. A master manipulator and you love him so much because his parasitic ideals live in your skull now, and they etch and carve new truths into your head until you are raw and bleeding and you wake up one day realizing everyone and everything that mattered in your life before him is gone and you have been daydreaming through another sex act that you fear you might not survive. Its all for love. And how romantic it would be to die by the hand of the one who you love, or maybe it would be romantic just to die and not suffer anymore.
Every day, the duty called, and the sickness built in my stomach and started to taste like love when it came out my mouth. Love was all around me, the vile disgusting thing. one day, I was looking at my reflection, skinny, sallow skin, bruised abdomen, shredded thighs, burns in my arms, too much sorrow for me to possibly bear alone. Too much sorrow for me to possibly ever come back from.
He called. “I’m coming to get you.”
You know, when something hurts you, really physically hurts you, it doesn’t set in until you rest on it, really let it sink into the base of you. That’s when you feel it. So, if you excessively overact upon it, you need not feel it for a little while longer. Unless it tests you.
The ecstasy of pain, pain avoidance and the full circle of toxicity.
“Okay, I’ll see you soon.”
He never came to the door, never looked anything less than expectant and irritated when I got into his car. I read his expressions furiously trying to figure out how the day might go. He started touching me as soon as we pulled away. The feeling of his thick fingers on the lining of my underwear brought me right back to that night under the stars. Sweating, but trying so hard to love the right way. I would make this okay for myself.
We got to his house, and I don’t remember walking up the front steps, he must have thrown me straight through the door and pinned me against the wall, hard, and cold. His belt was around my neck. God help me, I can’t do this again. But I wanted to love it, I needed this chance to redeem myself to love, to prove to it I was worthy. To prove to this god-complexed son of a bitch that I could be the love of his damned life.
He dragged me through his apartment and forced me to the ground on his bedroom floor. The hardwood dug into my knees and so I focused on that. Any external pain not from his hand was cherished by me. I looked in the mirror adjacent, attached to his closet doors. We’ll be okay I whispered to my trembling, breaking heart. All of me fell to the floor and I didn’t need to be strangled to stop breathing.
“stay there. I’m going to get something.” He barked at me, the lights in his eyes had gone out completely, I had no idea who I was looking at, where I was, how I got there after the care I took with my intentions, always.
Words had stolen themselves from my throat, sat in my stomach, putrid, buried and undiscovered. I knew already I was inconsolable. That I would have to live through this and find some way to unbury myself afterward. For now, I would allow the child in me to pretend she were somewhere else, cover her ears, and hide the horrors from her until they were over.
30 seconds later I was on his bed, choking, glad for the pillow smothering my face so I was finally free to cry as much as I liked. Glad for the strength of the leather around my neck so I couldn’t quite think straight and outright experience it all, and with that I couldn’t sob or make any sound.
I had no idea what was being thrust inside my body, I felt the texture of more than one object, more than 3 fingers, the familiar tearing of flesh and the sting of skin salt. My heart scurried into my throat and I swore I could’ve died there and been okay with it. The pounding of fists on my body. The reassurance from him that I loved it. I wanted him so badly to beat me to death. But I told myself he didn’t mean it, it was just a role play game, and I never actually said no.
I never said yes either, and I could already see my dead self walking through my life, half engaging with existence and everything it entails. I could never, would never, be able to let fingers touch my heart again, nor skin touch my skin in the same way. He was leaving bruises on my body I knew would never heal and I tried as hard as I tried to convince myself this was an act of love, that I could make peace with my new dismantled form.
My arms were bruised, my neck was cut from the buckle of his belt digging into my flesh, my throat was swollen, hoarse from the screams that couldn’t escape but ran laps around the thinness of my flesh. There was a throbbing wound where my womanhood was yanked from me by the pliers of his rough fingers. My abdomen was burning, I prayed for internal bleeding, anything to get out of the trials I’d have to face. The I did this, self blame game, the I love him denial game, the he didn’t mean it perpetuation game. There were no safe corners in my space. But it did stop, the act itself. I rolled over to face him, his loving kindness, the soft lines of his face, contorted into vile hostility, and condescension, spite lines and etches of pride. My bruised, tattered body his finished sculpture. I looked into his eyes, at a man I’d never met but had been faced with all along and I finally saw him for exactly what he was.
My ears still ring from the piercing shrieks of my inner child, her soft iridescence shattered by the sight of it all. We will survive this my sweet child, we will find a way.



When You're is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.



No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Post Reply