Before I begin, please know that I am aware that I could never understand what you went through and continue to go through. I will never know “how it feels to be an amputee”. I just want you to understand what I went through.
I want to tell you: It didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter that I had to watch you get run over by two vehicles. I saw it, I heard it; I felt the rush of wind next to my ear, the smashing of glass and metal and bone. I was knocked to the ground by the force of it all, but emerged with only a bruise.
I was untouched, but both your legs were sliced in half. I was untouched but you were bleeding out on the highway. I was untouched but you almost died.
I was at the hospital every damn day.
After a countless number of surgeries, you emerged; your stomach was sliced right down the middle; a chasm of blood and flesh left open to “heal from the inside out” the doctors said. I was the one who changed your bandages. Every day I cleaned and packed the open gulch of your stomach with wet cloths. Every day I put ointment on the battered stub that was your right leg and wrapped it. I put damp cloths on your forehead when you were hot with fever. I fluffed your pillows and covered you with blankets. I slept in your hospital bed with you, waking up in the middle of the night to get the nurses when the pain was too much. I was patient even while you snapped at me. I was patient even while your father raged at whoever was fool enough to cross his path. I was patient no matter what your father said about me “eventually leaving you because you were an amputee now.”
It didn’t matter to me that you lost your leg. How could you think that something like that would matter to me?
It didn’t matter to you that every time you would wake up in the middle of the night weeping with pain it was always me who was there to hold the remains of your leg in the palm of my hand, to squeeze your muscles just the right away above what would have been your knee cap. You said I knew exactly how to do it so whenever you needed me, I was there. It didn’t matter to you that it was always me who would get up, no matter what time of night, no matter how much sleep I had or hadn’t gotten, to get you something to drink so you could take more pills for the pain. It was me who emptied and cleaned your commode every goddamn time. Not your brothers or sisters. Not your silent mother and definitely not your lying father.
I picked you up from the doctor’s office every day you were there. I visited you during my lunch break. I took you with me to the park after work so you could get outside because I knew you were stuck in bed; inside your dark house all day. I didn’t have to, but I wanted to because I loved you. My god, I loved you. How could you not know that? After four goddamn years together how could you still not know that I fucking loved you?
I was the one who held you when you shook from the pain and frustration and anger of it all, every night. Nobody else saw the utter grief and desperation that hid behind your proud eyes, but I did. It didn’t matter to me that when I crawled in next to you at night I could barely touch you for fear of hurting you, I was just glad that you were home. When you healed enough that I could slide my leg between your legs and put my arm around you and hold you close, that was enough for me. How could you think that it was not?
People on the outside, who have never gone through a situation like mine, they will never understand the toll it takes on a person. They’ll never understand the way it feels to watch the man you love, your protector, your gentle giant, crawl across the floor to get into a chair. They’ll never understand the way it feels to be judged every time you go out in public. They’ll never understand the way it feels to be seen as a bitch for having anything other than a loving exterior. They see you as “disabled” and they look at me in pity. They’ll never understand the ever-remaining guilt I feel, to this day, because I was physically untouched. Something as small as the strains of a song that I sent to you that one day after the accident in hopes that you would understand where I was coming from; it reminds me. Sometimes I smell certain cologne and it reminds me of the pungent scent of the hospital. Yes, I still think about you almost every day. I wonder how you’re doing and if the poisonous words of your father have completely turned you against me yet. I wonder if you’re happy. I hope you are. I wonder if you think about me sometimes, if you miss our friendship. I wonder if you think about me at all.
How could you believe the lies spread by your father, a man who has never had a kind word for you, no matter how hard you tried to make him proud? How, after almost four years together, could you still not know me at all? I supported you through every loss and every victory. We were more than a couple, we were best friends. I was the most loyal friend you’ve ever had and yet you still believed these blatant lies about me. You still believed that I was going to leave you or cheat on you. You still believed that I was only with you for the money that you would eventually have. Me, the girl who sold her prized instrument to support US; the girl who supported you after you quit how many jobs? Me, the girl who hated when you spent money on her and more often than not would gladly pay for the both of us. You never really believed that I ever truly loved you, did you? I would get so upset when you would bring up anything your dad said about me. You would never come out and agree with him but just the fact that you brought it up, like I needed to respond to it, to prove to you that he was wrong. And yet, no matter what I said, you still didn’t quite believe me.
I left you because after almost four years together, you still didn’t know me.