I suppose this is for anyone who has been in a bad relationship. I don’t honestly know if I’m going to leave this posted – it’s quite raw, and may hurt when read. But… isn’t that what writing is meant to do?
In that moment when you realise a single strand connects you to hell, every detail, every event rushes from the depths of your mind. You thought you had it locked away, but this single connection in the present was enough to pick the lock and bring it all back.
It’s the pettiness of her revenge that irks you the most. The smallest incident in a series of much larger, more worrying events which she has brought to the fore. You wonder how angry she must be to flaunt this to the world. You worry that speaking of the whole sorry affair will give her power over you again.
But you have grown wiser since that doorway to hell slammed shut behind her. And you realise that you are no longer defined by her. She is defined by you. No. Even that isn’t correct. Her public face is outlined by her own petty vindictiveness, her own mistaken reduction of the entire relationship; a reduction that, in the grand scheme, is so minor as to be overlooked, forgotten. From a different perspective, it could have been a pivotal moment. It highlighted her selfishness, her inflexibility, her overwhelming and incorrect superiority: she’s right, and no one else is.
At least you forgot it.
But it is glaringly apparent that she has not.
You are free. She has wrapped and warped herself, twisted that passing comment into the fabric of her everyday life.
But you had to think of the children. They came first, and her poison pettiness was hurting them.
See? All of the details, which you wish were gone, wiped clean, erased from your life, roll in on the irresistible wave of memory. You feel yourself being dragged forward, into the surf, against your will. Your foot snags on the undertow, and it hooks your leg out from beneath you. You fall, but one foot stands on dry sand, and you twist as you fall, reaching out to claw your way back to light.
But there are hands there, in a blink, hands that grab your arms, scooping you up and lifting you above the venomous water of the past. Those who care about you bring you back, and lay you down, far from the grasping claws of the sea. They sit with you, let you stare – in pale, horrified memory – for a while. But they are the ones that won’t let you wallow. Won’t let you go under. They help you to your feet, dust the sand off, and remind you that you are strong enough to turn your back on that sea.
And you do.
That final, single strand which linked you to hell snaps like a gossamer cobweb as you walk back to your life.