I find myself swearing before a judge, with witnesses. My right hand is splinted and raised to the sky as I swear my words are truth.
“Did he hurt you?”
No, but there were times I was so uncomfortable I could not sleep. He’s hurt me more than shallow man.
“He won’t hurt you again.”
I know this, but this sentence doesn’t sit well in my stomach. Fifty feet is a long ways away but I can still feel fear from fifty feet away.
They give me a list of numbers to memorize. Each one of them linked to an individual who could save me if I’m scared.
I’ve received more text messages today than I have in my entire life. People are worried about me, for me.
“You did the right thing, move on with your life.”
When did I get to the point of self-loathing so much that I let this torture last for months? Where was my self respect? I feel like a cracked shell with my innards seeping out slowly. Exposing me to the world, my true feelings and insecurities.
The number and distance doesn’t comfort me.
“What are your concerns with this arrangement?”
“The guilt. The guilt of letting it go on for far too long. The damage I gave myself to tolerate this.”
“You’ve learned though, right?”
I learned, yes, that there are other people just as sick as the shallow man.
“The main thing is, he didn’t hurt you. He won’t, not anymore.”