A Funny Story

We’d argue until the early hours of the morning.

I’d sit in the 6am rain with a cigarette and a glass of water, spitting blood onto your patio.

The neighbours must have become concerned

for the crying girl in her Calvin Klein’s.

I told my mum I’d fallen.

I told my friend it was ‘a funny story’.

 

Your forearm would pin my neck against the wall

whilst your tear-stained lips told me

how much you loved me, you’d die without me.

Your forearm would envelope my chest

in a furtive attempt at hiding my assets from prying eyes.

Your lips would brush my ear

People are looking, you would say

People are looking, put them away.

Why did I stay?

 

 

Four years later you asked to see me and you cried the entire time.

Thick, salted tears that stained my clothes.

You’d been a block of ice in my life for so long

but that day I breathed my summer sunshine on you

and you melted.

 

 

rewrite of my poem Naïve.

Naïve

I thought I was in love with you. You haunted my life for five years with your words, your eyes, your hands and your tears. I was too young and too naïve to leave, too scared of loneliness, too empathetic to abandon you in your ball of depression. I covered myself up, I ignored my makeup, my friends didn’t know me anymore. I didn’t know myself.

Why did I stay?

I thought I was in love with you. You manipulated my mind, warped my beliefs and made me think I was the antagonist, I was the devil in our cat-and-mouse relationship. We’d argue until the early hours of the morning. I’d sit in the 6am rain with a cigarette and a glass of water, spitting blood onto your patio. The neighbours must have become quite concerned for the crying girl in her Calvin Klein’s.
I told my mum I’d fallen.
I told my friend it was a funny story.

Your forearm would pin my neck against the wall whilst your tear stained lips told me
how much you loved me.

You’d die without me.

Why did I stay?

Entrapment

Running, running, running.

The sound of my feet was almost thunderous as they slapped the wet pavement. Stones dug into my bare feet, the rain splintered my hot skin.

Running, running, running.

I couldn’t stop; my throat was closing, my breaths coming short and ragged.

Don’t stop, he’ll catch you.

My soaked fringe plastered itself to my forehead, sending beads of moisture running down my temples. I’d left my bag at his house, my phone, my purse, my coursework, my favourite jumper, even my shoes. I’d just left, I’d turned and fled. He’d tried to kill me… he’d pulled out a knife and run at me… even after the beautiful weekend we’d just spent together? I didn’t understand. It had been so perfect. I’d thought that, finally, maybe things were starting to change. I kept running, though my legs felt like they were going to give way underneath me. The back of my head was throbbing in time with my racing heartbeat
“You’re cheating on me!” he’d yelled. He forced me onto the bed and wrapped his hands around my neck. I couldn’t breathe, hot tears streamed down my face. I clawed at his hands, shaking my head, squeezing my eyes shut.
“Liar! Don’t lie to me!” His fingers tightened around my throat. I panicked, trying to force out words, any words, a sound, anything to get his heavy body off of mine. I released my hands from his wrists and took a swing for his face, my nails catching his left eyebrow; they dragged down his eyelid and across his cheek. He lurched away, droplets of blood already forming under his eye.
Now’s my chance.
I started for the door, ignoring my belongings by the bed, forgetting my phone on the bedside table, not even noticing my shoes by the door. I heard him snarl behind me and caught a glimpse of the blade he was now clutching, his knuckles turning white. I knew it was a bad idea for him to keep that in his room. He’d always said that it was for the people he didn’t trust, that living in such a dodgy area meant he needed to stay alert. I’d always been wary about it. People he didn’t trust.
Don’t look back.
I ran down the hall and managed to slide round the front door and slam it behind me before his fingers caught my shirt. Stumbling down the cold stone steps of the flat, my toes started to go numb. I choked out a sob, absentmindedly touching my throat where his thumbs had dug into my flesh. Breathing the smoky air of the block of flats felt like luxury.
There was a bang above me, a series of thumping and roar that made my heart attempt to bash its way out from behind my ribcage. He was coming for me. I heard people opening their front doors, talking curiously to one and another, and knew that they’d seen a small, barely dressed teenager, flying down the stairs in tears, her hand clutching her already bruising neck. I hated it. I’d always hated being in the spotlight. I hated being noticed. I couldn’t stand being with the thought that people were talking about me. I wanted to just shrink back into myself, back to my own little world. Through the communal door, across the grass, into the road, never looking back. My fists sliced through the frigid air, my heartbeat pounding in my ears.
Don’t look back.
I didn’t care for the stones in my feet, I didn’t notice the sharp pain in my left ankle, I blocked out the ache in my neck and the throb at the back of my head; all I could see was the look on his face when it had been an inch away from mine, his breath hot on my lips. The anger, the hate… ­
Don’t look back.
I turned my attention to the streetlamps, casting glowing pools of liquid gold on the wet concrete, making it shine and sparkle. I slowed to a jog, the hammering of my heart behind my ribcage becoming too much. I could feel my pulse dancing in my throat.
I was alone.
I was completely alone.
Completely alone with nothing but the pattering rain and my own footsteps for company.
Don’t look back.
I couldn’t take anymore. My world was caving in on itself, everything that meant something to me was gone. He’d pulled me in with his humour, his charm, his eyes. And I’d fallen for it all. Yet he’d filled a hole in my heart that I thought would hang over me forever, and for that I felt bound to him; he was the reason I wasn’t in that state anymore. And even through all the accusations, the belittling, the shouting, the hitting and shoving, I couldn’t bring myself to leave him. Because he would always apologise, he’d always tell me how awful he felt, how much he loved me, he couldn’t live without me, and that it would never happen again.
And I always believed him. And it always happened again.
I found a rain-darkened fence and leaned my back against it. It felt cool on my shoulders. Resting the back of my head on the wood, I closed my eyes, and for a moment I felt even more alone. Like the street wasn’t beneath my feet, like the world wasn’t revolving around me. It was just me, a fence and the occasional drop of moisture on my face, falling from the tree above me. I slid down to the ground, breathing deeply until I came in contact with the pavement. I hugged my knees to my chest, keeping my arms around them firmly. Resting my mouth on my forearms, I felt a sob push its way up my throat. My chest heaved and my eyes stung. I tightened my arms, pushing my knees far enough into my chest that it hurt. I balled my fists, my long nails digging into my palms, burning as they burrowed further, and further, and further. But I couldn’t stop. I felt the warm liquid run down my wrist. I couldn’t hold that sob any more. I let it out, not caring how loud I was. I felt my face tingle as the hot tears spewed over my icy cheeks, never ending. I ran my soiled hands through my hair and buried my face in my knees, screaming. My scalp became tender as my fists tightened on my hair.
I can’t do this anymore.
‘I can’t do this anymore!’ I screamed, all the anger, the frustration, the pain, everything building up inside me was coming out. I saw my dad telling me how disappointed he was, telling me he didn’t love me like his own. Turning his back on me. I saw my best friend abandon me, laugh at my insecurities as she flipped her hair and waltzed away. All I’d ever wanted was –
“You!” I was lifted from the floor by my hair, “what the fuck do you think you’re playing at? You think you can just run away from me?” One hand was pulling my head too far back, while the other had a firm hold on my shoulder. He shook me with enough force to make me dizzy.
“Answer me!”
I whimpered, looking at the angry spit around his mouth. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?” His face was now just millimetres from mine.
This is it. This was the end. There was no way for me to escape now. I began to close my eyes, but over his shoulder I caught sight of… a man. A man in a towel dressing gown, sprinting towards us. Before I had time to even gather my thoughts, I went flying, my head landing with a deafening crack. My vision blurred, an ear-piercing buzz filled my head. I could hear men shouting, feet scuffing the concrete, and then closer to my own head, was a metallic clink. I squeezed my eyes open and closed, open and closed, open until my vision starting coming back to me. I shifted my body weight onto my hands, my elbows giving way underneath me several times. My head hung and my hair clung to my damp face as I heaved my dinner onto the pavement. I peered up through my fringe. The two men were face to face.
“You think you can throw around some girl like that? You think that’s okay?”
“Don’t tell me how to treat my girlfriend, mate.”
And just within arm’s reach, was the knife. I looked up in time to see the man in the dressing gown being shoved into the road. He fell backwards, his arms swinging in every direction. Danny was stalking towards him, his fist’s clenched. His foot came down on the man’s face.
“No! Please!”
He stopped in mid-kick, and turned to stare at me. “What?”
My whole body shook, my head was spinning. “Please don’t hurt him, Danny, please. I’ll do anything.”
“What could I possibly want from you? You are nothing. Look at yourself!”
He stood and stared at me, before letting a grin form across his face. He laughed to himself, then turned his back on me and crouched by the man’s head. He held the back of his head and put his sweaty face right up to his. “Maybe we should teach you a lesson. You don’t get involved in other people’s business, right? Got that?” I saw his fist lift high into the air. The man squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the pain to hit him.
“DANNY!” I had the knife in my hand, I was off the floor, I was running towards them. I took him by the shoulder and yanked him away, taking him by surprise. He stumbled away, but only briefly. He was up and on top of me already, his hands around my throat once more.
“When… will… you… learn,” he spluttered into my face as he slammed my head against the pavement with each spat word. The queasiness was returning even stronger, I couldn’t fight, I couldn’t resist, my body wouldn’t respond. All I could do was wait. My fist tightened around… around the knife. I looked up into his eyes, those eyes where I would once have felt love and compassion. But know all I felt was hate. My arm swung round and the knife buried itself into his side. He toppled away, an agonising scream escaping his lips. I stood up, looking over my shoulder at the man still lying limp on the floor, blood coming from his nose. His eyes were wide open though, staring from Danny, to me. I looked back at my fiancé, blood soaking his shirt. He was looking at the knife, his hands hovering above it, not knowing quite what to do. I couldn’t bear to listen to the strangled noises he was making.
I turned.
I fled.

Running, running, running.

Just don’t look back.