I think about you every day, the thoughts used to be filled with hatred and contempt, but ever so slowly the thoughts changed—my thoughts came without anger, but with understanding. Though I will never understand why you chose to lay your hands on me, I try to understand the chaos that your mind must have felt. Your diagnosed mental illness had not yet been treated when our paths crossed on the destructive road that forever changed the way I feel when someone touches me. When someone caresses my cheek, I hold back my screams that fill me on the inside. When someone grabs my neck to kiss me, I flinch, holding back every voice in my mind telling me to run for my life. For you did not touch me out of love, you placed your hands on me because your mind was in udder chaos, and you were angry in the confusion. I do not disregard your actions, I do not excuse the way you hurt me, but I do forgive you.
While on a hike, I heard a twig snap behind me. Instantly, I turned around, a reaction that I have come accustomed to—always check my surroundings. As I sat down on the side of the trail, I listened to the water trickle of a tree that fallen over the river. My thoughts went back to you, your face, your voice, your embrace. When I saw the glimpse of who you desperately wanted to be, I loved you. You could make me laugh and you held me when I cried. You weren’t a monster. But when the demons in your mind won, I felt their every strike through your words and actions.
I continued my hike, every memory of us playing through my mind. I realized I am where I am in my life because of you. Had I not met you, I wouldn’t have had this burning desire to travel. Traveling allows me to be in control, it is my vice. Though, I still flinch at touch, one day a man will not lay their hands on me with anger, but with love and peace. He will understand why I travel, and why some days I need to travel alone. But until that day comes, I will be okay. You received the help you needed, and despite the pain you caused me, I’m happy for you.
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