All The Things I Tell You In My Head

TW: Abuse
woman in a black sweatshirt
Christian Gertenbach

I want to tell you how you’re hurting me. You are. I love you but my heart feels really heavy and I forget why when I talk with you.

Tonight you were in a better mood. You’d just come home from hanging out with the guys. I wanted to ask why you put my mom’s porcelain tea set on Ebay. I just wanted to ask – that’s all. You were all smiles and happy until I asked you.

Your eyes got different.

Dangerous.

You asked me why I think my past is more important than our future. I muttered that I wasn’t really thinking about our future. You threw out your hands like that answered everything. I tried to explain that the China meant a lot to my mom before she passed. You slammed the table with your hand and yelled at me for forgetting your breakfast last month.

I wasn’t sure how breakfast and my mom’s tea set were the same. But you were. You told me you could take it off Ebay, fine, have it my own way! And now you’d have to work overtime. Was I happy? Was that what it was? Did I get what I wanted? Was I trying to tell you that you weren’t working hard enough?

I don’t think I was. I think I just wanted to know why you sold the China.

You grabbed one of the tea cups and hit it against the corner of the table. It cracked like an egg. You snapped the handle while I watched. You asked me again if I was happy. But you weren’t really asking. You were stating it. Cold and even.

No, I wasn’t happy.

I heard you mutter “bitch” when you walked out. You meant for me to hear. I swept up the broken tea cup and put it in the trash.


You came home at three this morning. Your eyes couldn’t look at me straight and when I told you I was sorry, you pushed me into a lamp.

Now I’m sitting here on the edge of the bathtub. I’m crying so loud inside but I keep it quiet and force myself to swallow pockets of air so that you won’t wake up and be angry. Because I know you’ll never understand. It’s not because you can’t.

It’s because you won’t.

I’m crying because when I tell you these things in my head they make sense. And it all feels so wrong. And it’s so clear. But when I try to tell you, nothing is clear. Somehow I’m the one who got it wrong or the one who started it.

Somehow it always ends with me apologizing to you. Cleaning up your messes. I don’t understand.

Sometimes I ask you why you don’t love me anymore. You ask me why I’m always so needy. You ask me why I’m never satisfied. Why you’re never enough for me.

You smile in my eyes. Tell me I’m beautiful and that you’ll love me anyway.

You warn me that I better not pull shit like that again. Still looking into my eyes like you are me or I am you and I forget which is which. Or how we’re different.

When I’m here, sitting on our old bathroom rug with mascara on my cheeks and snot running onto my shirt, I remember why I should be separate from you.

Because for just a moment I remember what it’s like to be my own person. I used to watch movies like The Notebook and dream about someone who would bring me tea when I didn’t ask for it and pick up my laundry when I’d had a tough day. You told me The Notebook is stupid and you hate tea. I said I hate tea too.

I love tea.

I think I should be angry at you. Everyone tells me I should. But your voice is so loud.

I want to ask you why you do this to me. I want to ask you why I hold on to the tiny happy parts when most of it’s bad. I want to ask you why your voice is always the loudest.

I want to ask you these questions because I still can’t find myself away from you.

I’ve gone through a lot of tissues tonight. I’m sorry to waste so many. It was selfish of me. I’m sorry I got my shirt and the rug dirty.

I’ll go wash them now while you’re sleeping. They’ll be clean when you wake up. TC mark

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