I’ll be honest.
I didn’t want to tell you.
I didn’t want to tell you about that night
Where my fists clenched around the pillows of my family’s ratty old couch,
My body drenched in the sweat and tears of fear and betrayal in the cool, humid air of that damp basement,
And where my eyes cried soft whimpers into the corduroy-like cushions,
Lungs shriveled, throat closing, struggling to thrust “no” out from it’s depths, not once, not twice, but numerous times.
I didn’t want to tell you that my “no’s” and “I’m not ready’s” were bypassed as if it were a traffic light just turned red on your hurried, already-late commute to work.
I didn’t want you to know that you’ve got what some might call once stolen or damaged merchandise,
To tell you that my title isn’t clean, and that my history report isn’t sparkling.
But, there isn’t a CARFAX report for this kind of bullshit.
There was no way you could go online, even for a small fee, and find the information I’ve so easily hidden,
And could have kept hidden.
I never wanted you to know.
I never wanted you to see my dents and scratches, etched into the fabric of time,
I never wanted you to see the things you can’t just buff out, or cover up with some fresh paint.
But you had to.
I had to tell you.
I had to tell you that this was an AS-IS transaction,
And how fair would that be if you didn’t have all the facts to make an educated purchase?
I never wanted you walking away with buyer’s remorse.
You needed to know that I’m well-learned in the art of being ignored,
With even the simplest of words:
One syllable. Two letters. N-O.
That I’m aware that those textbooks and lesson plans from ninth grade health lied when they told me that it’d be so easy.
”If they respect you, they’ll stop. If they don’t, leave.”
When you’re fifteen, things are never that simple.
I had to tell you that while I always knew that I had that option- to “just leave”- following through wasn’t easy like they said it’d be.
There was no way to remove myself from the head-locked stranglehold of pretend love, pretend matrimony he held me in
As my father’s voice and beliefs came speeding fast at seventy miles an hour,
Headlights blinding me on a freeway where I was unknowingly going the wrong way,
The mangled wreck I was to become staring me in the face.
I had to tell you that I knew. That I knew all along putting him in the driver’s seat because I didn’t know how to drive yet was a mistake.
That I knew all along his carelessly strung sentences crafted with words drawn randomly from a hat of cliches and commonplace justifications were exactly that,
That they carried no meaning whatsoever.
He’d been telling me what he thought I wanted to hear,
Planting it in my naive little head that it was me who was to blame for this huge mess,
I “seemed like I wanted to” after all.
You needed to know all of this.
You needed to know that these memories still haven’t faded,
And are still haunting me like that near-death experience we had when I tried making a left turn when you were teaching me how to drive.
You know how I’ll avoid lefts with everything in my power,
Even if it means I have to go around the block to do so.
I avoid the closeness of another human being
Because of his reckless driving,
Trying as I might to overcome lying beside another boy
And seeing his crooked teeth, jagged nose, and tricky eyes as I claw at the “OH SHIT” bar in the passenger seat.
You needed to know that it isn’t you.
I’m not afraid of you.
I’m afraid of that ghastly figure that breaks lose from it’s cage in my psyche when it feels the quaking of my barriers coming down,
Returning to remind me of that mangled wreck of limbs and skin,
Marking the collision on the corner of “I”m not ready,” and “It’s okay. I love you.”