Often the days start like this—not feeling very well, taking all my strength to drag my body to the bathroom and have a shower. After, I will feel a bit more human, more of a shell of myself—but how much more is left in this shell, I sometimes wonder, how long before my anxieties eat me up and spit me out, forgotten seed, devoid of pulp.
I remember a line from a poem by Ai:
Wishing I could get out of this alive, I hug myself
As I was on my way to get some clothes I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and—
I stared at my body. Really looked.
I am not conventionally beautiful. At first glance, I know I am quite plain. I’m not arresting by any means. My skin is as brown as brown can be, my eyes are almond-shaped and typically disappears from my face when I smile.
On some days I like what I look like, I think I can be cute, even pretty. Another line from Ai comes unbidden:
I’m a wind from nowhere. / I can break your heart.
I love my long, dark hair. It’s now down to my lower back. I am not very good at combing, so it just runs wild during the day, or I often put it up in a ponytail if the weather gets too hot.
What is pretty, I whisper to myself. The mirror doesn’t give me an answer. Before long, the fog clears and the mystery disappears, I am ordinary and not beautiful, and my hair coils and coils, little disturbances.
I hang my towel out to dry. Outside the world spins madly on.
We measure our days by hellos and goodbyes, and I am thinking, who was I who yearned for your face, who was I who wanted your body here, now? I am thinking, who was I who opened her legs in the dark, hand between her thighs, waiting for your command, knowing your voice would have to travel oceans and minutes and hours?
From my balcony, I hear the wailing of an ambulance and I know what it meant—another one lost, another one to meet the end alone with no one by their bedside. I am thinking, how long can I survive this without your arms around me?
You are mine, you whisper, eyes hot, your gaze possessing whatever it touches. I almost covered myself—small breasts, big nipples, soft belly, huge thighs. What do I have to offer except my insecurities and fragments of my broken self—
You are not broken, you say, rebuke in your voice. Look at me. I refused, the mantra of my heart saying, this is going to hurt, this is going to cause me anguish, this is what I deserve—
Look at me. A command. Your voice deep, a voice I would know anywhere—
You’re my baby. I adore you.
Outside another ambulance cuts through the night and I suddenly realise, is it worth it all, wallowing in past humiliations of being told I’m not good enough? Should I let leftover shame take room in my heart, remembering a previous lover’s words that my body isn’t delicate? Here you are before me with your hard cock, precum leaking—isn’t that enough?
Ai echoes again, another line, another poem:
I was that woman and I didn’t die.
I looked down the length of my body. Then back to your eyes. My hands tentatively cup my breasts, offering them to your mouth.
Yes, you whisper. My beautiful girl. All mine.
This was written in collaboration with