Up north, in a cemetery with graves from the 1800s, maybe witch graves, we are the only ones out here. We pull up in my father's old Blazer, he gave it to me because he got a new nice car and i'm an adult but i can't afford a car.
So my daddy gives me cars.
We pull up, going at an incline because the land is steep and the road is dust and no one comes here to visit their dead. There's all weeds and spiderwebs covering tombstones and artificial flowers from the 1980s and wilted and weather beaten stuffed teddy bears that wear sashes like homecoming queens.
“Miss You” “We Will Never Forget You” “Love Always”
But those teddy bears are liars because everyone forgot them. I don't blame them; i forget my dead too.
Just seeing it makes me feel like an actor and i know that when i blow my brains out one New Year's morning the teddy bears and flowers might come for a couple months, maybe even a year. But I’ll be forgotten too. I start to pout out my lower lip and violently wipe tears but he sees it and asks what's wrong.
“Nothing” He's always asking what's wrong and every time i say nothing.
When he broke my rib last year he asked ‘what's wrong” and i say ‘nothing’. It's a little game we play where we both aren't monsters pretending to be people. Where he says he doesn't remember last night and i say me neither.
I was so badly beaten and bruised my skin looked like the sky before a tornado. Really deep cobalt and purples and pastel pinks. Even yellows. I tried to crawl to the door but he struck my hand with an aluminum baseball bat and got down low in my ear and said
“Try it bitch. You won't get too far. I dare ya”
I laid my head down on the tile of the kitchen floor and he sat at the door for two days. On monday morning i wrapped my waist and my sides in an old Ace bandage and went to work. On my smoke break i coughed blood into a kleenex and some new girl saw me and i told her i'd kill her if she said anything.
We walk through the cemetery and he is trying to hold my hand. Its funny to me so i laugh and again he's asking questions.
‘What's so funny’ ‘Nothin’
He doesn't see the humor in attempting this tender exchange and he will never see it so why bother explaining. I don't even bother to talk anymore if i can help it. There's no point. One of us is gonna leave this marriage dead. And odds are it's gonna be me.
Hes got me bent over the hood of the blazer and fucking my asshole and i'm thinking about those tribes of elephants in the Sahara that mourn their dead. The elder ones, the mothers and the grandmothers pick up the bones of their dead babies with their trunks and handle them, gently-there is a longing. It's the same thing that keeps me going. Never forget. Always remember.
When i find myself screaming in my bathroom six months later i'm fulfilling that promise. I didn't forget.
My ex husband is slumped over in the tub, except the water isnt bath water its saltwater...ocean, and there are coral reef communities and tropical fish with colors like christmas lights and blue crabs and giant blood red squid.
My ex husband is feeding their tiny little ecosystem and is being ripped the fuck apart. The squid is plastered across his belly and some teeth mouth thing is consuming his intestine. The liver has floated to the top of the tub and the crabs are bringing it down into the water for the feast.
I am screaming in that pink and black bathroom with subway tile and i am towering above him in the tub and i am stabbing his abdomen like boxers throw punches. Short and quick. 10, 12, 13, 14 times. There are eruptions of blood and vein and one stream shoots up and paints my face red like an indian warrior but i do not stop to wipe it because i like feeling like an indian warrior.
My voice is my own. My screaming is my own. It's not from being beaten, or sodomized or punched in the mouth.
It's not from finding my dog with its head cut off, the explanation being “I told you not to try and fight back ya stupid cunt”.
It's not from all of the lost years and miserable lies and why didn't i just leave.
The screaming is my own. And i feel fantastic.