Why am I scared? Why do I let him do this to me? I have let myself be scared of him for so long, I suppose, after a nice long pause, after a few years of reflection, I can finally begin to admit that maybe he was abusive, and it wasn’t just me being awful, or even just us being awful to each other.
I can feel that familiar sink of the heart, the kind that pulls down behind the third row of ribs, dragging in the collar bone, creating that unnatural arch right behind the shoulders, putting a pressure on the diaphragm that makes it harder to hold in your gut. An ambitious person still tries to hold their head up, making a squeezing curve of the neck vertebrae and they strain, not sit, on the top of the shoulders. The tension on the back of the neck makes it hard to read, and eventually as the muscles exhaust, a constant pressure on the back of the temples like someone has their hand on the back of your head, thumb under the right ear, 4 fingers wrapped around the left, gripping tight and leaning in.