The White Hot Ghost of My Childhood
I watch him.
I watch as the words push themselves out of his throat, his head jerking up and to the side.
They spill out, angry and harsh, and nestle themselves around the base of his neck.
They glare at me, those words, with eyes as dark as the tar I used to squish my toes into on hot summer days.
I think that was a simpler time. But I may be lying to myself. The times past were warm and safe, but were they really? Or was I simply viewing it from behind the rose smudged lenses of naivety?
More sounds claw at the insides of his neck. They are white hot on his tongue, a flame stretching from his throat to the world before him.
The words stink and burn, the smell of water dropped onto the stove, of hot grease dripped on skin.
The world shimmers before him, a mirage on the blacktop of a cracked highway. The sounds jar their way through my ears and into my core, where they reverberate their disgust. Where they shout liar, whisper of manipulation, and pulsate thief.
The words drop to the floor, having eaten away at my face and hands. I crawl away, a marshmallow that was put close to the fire. My body aches, but I have no bruises to show.
The words coiled around his neck dissipate with a rattling hiss, crawl back into his skull. They watch me from behind eyes as dark as the tar I used to squish between my toes.
I will not be defined by his anger.
I am more than a victim, more than a burned out husk left to rot by the words that sowed fear in my heart.
I am not a survivor. I am thriving.
I take the pain, I take the hate, I take the white hot ghost of my childhood and I rip it to shreds.
The pieces will never leave, patchwork on my mind, but they do not define me.
I am alive. I am vibrant, a lover, an artist, an activist, an outdoor enthusiast, a traveler, a reader, a hiker, a dancer.
I am more than the scars that bubble on my back, more than the tar that still stains my skin.
I am more than that anger ever thought I could be.
I am more.