Outside, the bright wind
laughs away yesterday’s storm:
it never happened.
I wrote this literally, some time ago: the storm of the day before, violent and volatile, was denied by the light playfulness of the breeze, so much so that I wondered whether I’d imagined lashing winds and menacing clouds.
And yet, so many mornings of the almost ten years of my marriage were like that – not a meteorological phenomenon, but a metaphorical one. How many alcohol-fueled tempests, bruises that flowered like storm clouds under my flesh, cruel words that lashed at me like whipping, dust-laden winds, were denied completely in the sun-lit brightness of the morning after? How many injuries were conveniently ignored, how many insults shrugged off, how many shattered glasses and damaged possessions (mine, usually) dismissed casually as the result of clumsiness? How many brutal, nightmarish arguments became lovers’ tiffs, how many frenzied terrifying rages – to which my only response could be to keep my head down, say nothing, and allow them to break like punishment over my head – became robust, healthy arguments, for which I found myself taking half of the responsibility and all of the hurt?
Very convenient, the light of day, sometimes.
And yet, the thing that really outrages me is that I fell for it. I allowed the brightness of morning’s sunny skies and the lightness of a playful breeze to blind me to the darkness of night’s storms, and the very real and very constant danger that they threatened. It was easier, perhaps, than facing the reality that I couldn’t acknowledge: that I was a victim, that I was being abused, that I faced the path of becoming a refugee from my own home.
I’m continuing to dredge through the process of remembering. Storm by storm, bruise by bruise, beating by beating and insult by insult, I am drawing the darkness of my past into my present, in order to banish it once and for all. It’s agonising, and it’s hard to take care of myself in that, but it’s the only way I’ll be able to sing again – this darkness and the fear of it threatens to take my voice. So in the sun-brightened calm of a new life in which no one hits me, in which I am not in danger, I step back into the darkness of storms.
Because yesterday’s storms did happen. I’m not going to laugh them off. I’m not going to pretend that they had no consequence: uprooted trees, damaged homes, twisted wreckage. I’m going to have the courage to be a witness to that destructive reality even as I seek to heal it.
And if I have to eat my own body weight in chocolate in order to cope, then so be it.