She acts so jovially. Light-hearted. Cracks jokes, acting like nothing matters. I think it’s that that makes her so hard to work out. You’re just waiting for her to switch. Change all of a sudden and ask you something unreasonable. I just feel like I’m waiting for that moment. It’s hard. Exhausting.
It’s like I wasn’t even there. Like I didn’t exist. How are you supposed to respond to that? What are you meant to do?
Do you think I should reply? I feel like I should. But I don’t want to. What would I say? What does he want? I know. I won’t find out until I ask. But maybe I don’t want to know the answer. Everything will change afterwards. You can’t take it back.
I’ll always worry. I can’t help that. It’s just about managing it. I’m getting better at it.
It’s different for men. They don’t have to have that same level of alertness. Of course, you pay attention to who you pass, but you don’t have to consider the potential threat or confrontation. Especially when you’re on your own. The glances that slide down you. The shouts that are screamed from car windows as they drive past. Must be nice. To feel safer. Secure.
You didn’t hear him because you haven’t had to have that sense of awareness. You can walk down the street not worrying about who you pass.
You think it’s left you. But it creeps in. Mainly at night, when your defences are down. You can’t control what you dream about. And before you know it, you’re back there. You’ve never really admitted to anyone how much it hurt. Not even to yourself. Maybe that’s why it’s there. Floating just beneath the surface.
I can’t go back there. Not now. Not in this state. I need to exercise some self-preservation.
I appreciate you. I know I don’t say it enough. I know at times it feels like I don’t. But please don’t forget it.
I guess things are just different now. You can’t compare things to the past. As tempting as it is. Things don’t stay the same. Each day is different. Sometimes only slightly, other times, markedly so. Take some comfort in that they say. But what if change isn’t always good?