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Grade
6

Why.

 

For years I have dreamed.

It is the only escape.

From what, you may ask.

Well, from life.

From him.

I am just his distraction. Just another little toy for him to play with and toss away.

So I dream.

I read. I write.

Anything to escape, even for just a moment.

Why can't I tell him?

Why can't I leave him?

 

Why must I love him?

 

I do not know.

So I dream.

 

I wish I could say it.

I wish I could march up to him, and say, “You wanted me to be your anchor. You didn't realize I had to drown.”

Why can't I?

What is holding me back?

 

I do not know. I don't think I will ever know.

So I dream.

I dream of a better time.

Of better worlds.

Worlds where I don't come home to find another woman's perfume on my husband's best shirt.

Worlds where I must explain to my ten year old why her father has not been home for a few days.

 

She knows.

At ten years old, she has accepted what I cannot.

 

Why can't I?

 

Because.

Because even though I’m drowning, I can still hold my breath. Can still wait it out until his hand reaches down to pull me out of the water.

Because maybe I used a different perfume and didn't realize it.

Because maybe all of those days he isn't home are just work trips, unscheduled work trips not on his work calendar.

Because.

 

Why must I believe these lies?

 

My baby girl sees it. Knows it. Feels it. She can see that I am about to run out of air.

She provides bubbles, small reprieves.

 

But will that be enough?

 

No.

It will not.

Sure, I can dream; I can make my own reality, and spend more of my time there.

But that will only push me deeper.

 

How can I come up without a hand to help?

 

It is the question.

It is my question.

It is the puzzle I must figure out while plastering on a smile, going to meetings, and acting as though everything is alright.

Am I strong enough?

 

I tried to tell him once.

On her overnight school trip, we had our first fight.

After I began to yell, he lost his temper.

His hand flew up.

It continued to come down upon me.

 

I stayed silent, crying tears of omission.

Each tear, each blow, each yell - another inch deeper.

 

When she came home, lips pursed, she silently accepted the lie that I slipped getting out of the bath. She bandaged my eye, pressing her forehead to mine, as if giving me - willing me - to stay afloat.

 

Why do I stay?

What is keeping me here?

 

I know it isn’t the money.

I know it isn’t the mansion.

I know it isn’t the fancy clothes.

I know it isn’t the jewelry.

 

So what is it?

I must figure it out soon, I know, or I may sink into the deepest depths of my ocean

 

Why can’t I just leave?  

Pack my things one night when you aren’t there, and just

GO.

Leave a note, ‘You were the boat above my head that kept me from resurfacing.’

And forget about him forever.

 

Why?

 

A question so simple

Yet somehow,

So completely complex.

 

One night, he looked at me, anger in his eyes, and asked,

“What is wrong with you?!”

I answered as simply as I could before leaving the room.

“You.”

And that was that.

 

Afterwords, I realized just how true my words were.

YOU were what was holding me back.

YOU were the person who threw me out of the boat in the first place.

YOU were the bad piece in my perfect-ish life.

YOU were the problem.

 

But you were also my love.

 

Funny, isn’t it, how the ones we’re closest to are the ones that hurt us the most.

 

But why?

Once again, we must come back to this question.

It is THE question.

Why?

Why do I stay?

Why does he do what he does?

Why can’t I stop him?

Why can’t he love me?

Why do I love him?

And it continues, on and on, with no one to answer these questions.

 

Even as I write this, I sink deeper.

I fear I am now unreachable.

The only reason I bother to keep holding on is her.

My baby girl.

She isn’t a baby anymore, is she?

 

That’s why.

I love him because I see his good qualities in her.

He doesn’t love me because he sees my bad qualities in her.

I can’t stop him because every once in awhile, he’ll come home in a good mood,

Smiling broadly, almost exactly like her.

 

But why do I stay?

Perhaps we’ll never know.

And maybe, one day, now that most of my questions have been answered,

I can leave.

Walk out the door without glancing back.

 

I can imagine the day;

He’ll be gone who-knows-where, doing who-knows-what

I will lean into her room,

Whisper excitedly,

“It’s time to go. Forever.”

She will smile brightly, mischievously, and begin to pack her stuff

When we both have our most valuable possessions,

We would search the house for loose cash

Or credit cards

 

We would make our escape right there in the middle of the day

Marching out into the unknown.

Sometimes, that’s the best part;

The best part of everything.

What you don’t know.

Know. What a misleading word.

 

Life can be such a mystery.

And a misery.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? How it all hurts but we never give up.

 

After all, there’s a ‘Hell’ in ‘Hello’,

‘Good’ in ‘Goodbye’,

‘Lie’ in ‘Believe’,

‘Over’ in ‘Lover’,

‘End’ in ‘Friend’,

And an ‘If’ in ‘Life’.

 

Nothing is certain in this world.

Nothing is for sure.

That’s why you must be your own helping hand.

That’s why you must pull yourself back onto the boat

Instead of letting yourself drift slowly deeper

Waiting for someone who won’t come.

That’s why.

 

Once more, there it is, a word almost as misleading as ‘know.’

 

As David Cuschieri so truly puts it,

‘The mind is a powerful force.

It can enslave us

Or empower us.

It can plunge us into the depths of misery

Or take us to the heights of ecstasy.

Learn to use this power wisely.”

 

He is right.

He is too right.

He hits the nail squarely on the head, so to speak.

 

I used to use my mind only to

Plunge myself  

Deeper and deeper

Waiting for his hand -

The one that never came.

 

Now, I will use my mind to push myself up.

To rise above the water,

And higher still

Until no one,

Not even him,

Can get to me.

State
MI
Zip Code
48176