February

Another one of my friends got engaged a couple of days ago. And I think had her fiance just waited a little longer, a week, he could have proposed in an international chorus of unimaginative, but no doubt romantic, proposals. That’s probably why he didn’t. But being original is so goddamn hard this time of year.

I contemplate this as I sit stock still. Pretend I can’t see her silhouette in the distance. Carrying a suitcase full of nightmares, memories of my mother and miscellaneous tea bags of sadness and anxiety. But still I pretend, because I’ve only ever kept my heart beating with hope, even if it’s wasted.

The hand moves toward the two and the church bell chimes like a condemnation. She’s arrived and she puts out all the lights and strips me down as cruelly as all my rape nightmares. And then she smiles. That’s all. Because who wants to waste effort breaking the girl that’s already so good at breaking herself?

“Get the fuck out!” I yell, my voice thin, tears already grinding against my vocal chords.

“Happy Death Day 2 is coming out on your mother’s birthday this year. Fitting, isn’t it?” she asks and laughs because that’s all it takes, movie advertisements adorning the billboards at every other bus stop. Circumstantial reminders from the universe that shouldn’t hurt, but they do, just the way three piece packs of Ferrero Rocher do as they remind me of my parents’ divorce.

But she started coming way before my mother died. When the days got shorter and the temperatures plummeted. Smothering me with a pillow so I would stay in bed longer. Force feeding me milk so that my lactose intolerant body would throw up everything I ate. Telling me I made myself sick for the rest of my life and for what? I still take up so much fucking space. She pours alcohol down my throat like she’s filling her car with petrol, the expensive kind, before driving it off a cliff. The time I ended up on that bathroom floor, laying my cheek on the stall because it was cool, she just watched. With that sadistic little smile.

If the day I die is in February or March, you’ll know where to look.

“You won’t win,” I whisper. Because it’s true, she won’t. She can’t. Soon the days will get longer and the sun will get hotter and flowers will bloom in all the green spots around the city. May will come around and Mother’s Day will hurt, but only the right amount. Nothing will get better exactly, but it’ll be as it is. The doom comes with her but it also leaves with her.

She just laughs. “I already have, you crazy bitch.”

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