Walking past you at that station, as if you were a stranger, broke me out of jail. Shackles came off my legs as I marched passed you. The orange on my body faded as I ignored your mocking smile. When I did not stop, or turn to look back at you, I was free. Nothing you say or do, was ever going to chain me again.
My cell began shrinking the day I realized you never loved me. Still, I kept loving you anyway. I would try over and over again to say something, anything to change your mind, however, you made it impossible for me to breathe.
I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I didn’t stop. You fed on my temptation. Others have always been lucky enough to make a break. No one ever got caught. Yet, I was too slow to dodge the pain you caused me. I hesitated too much and let you take me. I tried to break free, but there was no way around those bars. The longer I stayed, the more used to I became to my cell. It had become so familiar. It had become my home. And the only thing I knew how to do, was to be your prisoner.
With your every touch, my life outside of these walls grew less and less desirable. With every kiss, my sentence increased. Each time you expressed you did not feel the same back, was a new bruise on my body. I stopped looking at my reflection, because I never thought I would see myself in orange.
I kept my family and friends at a distance. I did not want them to look at me from behind bars. I didn’t even realize how much of life I let pass by. But the truth was, I didn’t care. It is a crazy world out there and at least being in jail, I was safe. Being with you, I was safe.
It was not all so bad. I did break free at one point. You and I shared a great night once; laughs, stories and jokes. In that one moment, you treated me like a human. You acknowledged me by my name and not my number. I was a person, not a color.
The locks were coming loose. You took off my cuffs. Nothing was holding me back from being scared to love you. Your laugh fooled me into believing I had been exonerated. I promised myself, that I had learned my lesson and would not make the same mistake again. I can trust you. You have changed. The tiny voice in my head shrieked like an alarm. It begged me to run. I didn’t listen. If I could break out of prison once, I could do it again. I was not panicking like I was then. Prison was familiar. I have done it before. But, something was different.
My cell was still the small black box that it was before, yet, it was no longer my room. The walls did not remove its coat of death, although, it rubbed off all my stories. It was as if I had stepped inside for the first time. I once spent a lifetime in here, and while I knew the routine and this place with my eyes closed, I did not belong here.
I did not belong to you. I was never yours to have.
But I gave myself to you anyway. You never forced me. It was my choice. You gave me chances to leave. But I stayed with you anyway. There was something about you that I couldn’t escape.
Your hands made promises to protect me, then again, your eyes teased me not to bet on it. Your skin burned with a hungry desire and yet, your kisses whispered, reminding me, to not get used to it. And for you, I was temporary. You came and left as you pleased. However, you made me a prisoner. You threw me in jail and incarcerated me forever.
The next few months, I walked around with my head down. I did not want to accidentally glimpse myself in another inmate’s eyes. I ate by myself. Something about being in a crowd, made me feel more alone. Knowing I will never see your face again, tightened the bolts on the doors. Even though you were no longer in my life, I was still your slave.
It may be too late to make new memories or to meet new people. I will have become damaged, so broken and completely unrecognizable, that everyone will try to keep their distance from me.
But I am not a prisoner. I have a name, an identity and a place in this world. I didn’t think I mattered; I thought I had disappeared. Now I remember who I am and who I can still become.
Prison never broke me; it shaped me. I learned to face my fears. I will never be scared of you again. Prison made me stronger. I will never let you break me again. The guards tricked and bullied me. I will never let you play with me again. The cells ripped the air from my lungs. I will never let you trap me again. The voices poisoned my mind into forgetting who I was. I will never let you make me a prisoner again.