When we fight, I feel my heart pound in my chest and the blood rush in my ears. This was supposed to be a discussion and it turned into an interrogation. It was questions upon questions and I had no answers.
When we fight, I get anxious. I get jittery and clam up, and when you force a response out of me – it comes out stuttering, and the lisp I trained out of my voice comes back and my tongue slips. I’m biting back a lot of things that threaten to come out: I can be cruel, but I don’t want to be to you.
When we fight, I feel every ounce of PTSD in my brain spark to life. They’re like fireworks, except they’re like bombshells dropping on Hiroshima. Every sharp word, every spoken criticism, every sign emanating from your body reminds me of times I answered wrongly or spoke out of turn to people who weren’t you. People who hurt me. People who left scars – emotional and physical. I am scared and I tell you.
When we fight, you get anxious. You don’t want to be like the ones before you. We both know my body count is higher than yours (unusual for the gender difference and age gap), we both know that I carry many scars and the baggage I have exceeds the carry-on weight limit. You pace and you shake and you stutter, and I feel nothing but guilt guilt guilt.
I try to leave. You stop me.
We extend the conversation for another 45 minutes, half of which I’ve spent in tears behind my glasses. I’m dressed for a fight: cigarette jeans tucked into boots with a knife in my back pocket and brass knuckles at my hip. I don’t want to be safe because my safe space has turned into a war zone. When I don’t want to be safe, I go looking for trouble because either everything is raw and hurts and screams at me like an open wound, or I’ve numbed everything out and I’m desperate to feel something. Either one works at this point.
You cry, you plead. You pull me back and try to stop me from leaving. You want to keep talking but this conversation is for you, not for me. This conversation is to give you answers, to give you closure, to give you some semblance of insight into my blank expression because I’m out of tears and out of fucks.
I leave. You stay up waiting. This is why I hate it when we fight.