I am terrified of you.
I’m always afraid now, afraid that I’ll turn a corner and you’ll be there. Walking where I walk, browsing grocery shelves, at the gas pump next to mine. I will walk right into your silhouette. I live in terror, knowing that you’re coming back, that you’ll begin to haunt the places I go.
And so I have to change my clothes, dye my hair, tattoo my skin, be a different girl — change so you don’t recognize me and I forget all about it. Selective amnesia, maybe. I am terrified that you’ll be standing somewhere and I’ll stop and we’ll lock eyes and our Midwestern upbringing, always so polite, will force us to speak.
I will just have to smile and walk by as if nothing had happened at all, make you the perfect stranger. Never ever bash you over the head the way I want to, scream at you, stab little spiky words into your skin to hurt you and make you feel like your suit is made of glass shards. That’s what I want to do.
I used to be afraid of snakes. I remember a summer on the farm, when I was very small, that garter snakes ran rampant across our yard. They coiled in slithering, dark clumps in the grass under the clothesline and I’d watch them, horrified and frozen near the screen door, as they took refuge under our deck. My mother didn’t let us out to play on the days the snakes were thick; she chopped them up under the blades of our big lawnmower.
I was afraid of snakes for years after that. Over time, the population lessened, or they got smarter and didn’t sneak around our yard. But I’d see them while driving, or going for one of my long, rambling solo walks on the gravel roads. And I’d scream for the dog and stand petrified. Sometimes I’d pull over and vomit. My fear was so fast and so intense that my guts just flew right up and out my mouth.
Lots of things scare me. Big things, little things, silly things.
I was afraid you were going to find out what I did to you, but you never did.
The funny thing is, snakes don’t scare me anymore. I just throw a rock at them and they slither away to hide. Plus, when you live in the city, there are no snakes.
And the funniest thing is that I know you’re terrified of me. Even though you won and you’re probably so coated in the glow of your newfound love that you don’t give a shit that I’m still so angry. I don’t want to burn bridges — I want to fucking torch them. Sometimes I think I like the hatred more than I ever liked the being in love part, but then I tell myself not to be crazy and fold that thought away.
I hope you’re scared of me. You should be. You should let me haunt all your dreams and be spooked by my ghost. When you’re inside her, you should think of me and remember how my blood boiled under your hands. And remember that it still boils, even now.