It was a Tuesday night that my heart started beating differently. Do you know that cliché, the one with the sound of cracking and the heart breaking into a million pieces and never being able to get it back together? It’s not much of a lie, you really can feel like that, only it’s much more awful and you can’t really describe it.

That Tuesday night I only heard a strange noise in my ear, and no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t stop. I’ve been hearing that noise ever since.

It’s been two years.

It’s not like when you go underwater and your ears get plugged, and definitely nothing close to a high frequency pitch that is stuck in the back of your head when you are aching with migraine. I honestly think that if I found the exact moment it started and followed it to the very end, recording this strange sound and then speeding it up, I would hear something that only lasts for a moment.


It doesn’t just take a moment, that’s bullshit. When something terrible happens, you don’t go on with your life and pretend everything is okay. It takes days, months, years to reinvent yourself and get everything back to normal. Can you even return to the way life was before?

It was a Tuesday; I can clearly remember. I was watching the ceiling, trying to cope with my insomnia as well as my drunkenness. He left the light on, but it didn’t matter because the only light bulb still working was fighting its way to darkness anyway. He was so poor that he couldn’t even afford a lightbulb. I didn’t mind, really, being in the dark was nice. I liked him in the dark, and I liked that he was dark and I liked myself dark. My lungs were also blackened from his cigarette and my mind was clouded and the smell of his sour cologne was mixed with his salty sweat on my body. He was all over my body, but I didn’t mind. I just laid there, watching the ceiling.

Then I started hearing that noise, and it hasn’t stopped ever since.

The next morning I decided I never wanted to see him again. I was mad at myself because I didn’t see him for who he really was, I just wanted entertainment. Well, I got entertainment, maybe a little too much of it. Things got out of hand.

How could I have stopped him? I was weak and I was drunk, and he was someone to hold on to. I always use this as an excuse, maybe too weak to admit that using my weakness against me was my weakness, and not his.

Being weak was my fault.

I was walking home the next morning, but the world didn’t seem right. I didn’t seem right. He was still all over me, but I was missing from my own body. I could feel him instead of me, and all I could smell was his disgusting sweat on my hands. At home I washed myself, but I couldn’t wash my weakness off, so what was the point? The tub was a bit bloody and my arms were black and blue. In my ears there was that funny noise, but I kind of got used to it by then. My thoughts were much louder, it was like somehow his touch had crawled under my skin and found its way to every single organism, and my precious life juices were all flowing the way he ordered them to. For a moment I was lacking blood from every body part, and everything went up to my brain. He nestled in my brain and laid eggs there. Sometimes I can still feel something flapping its wings in my head, but that doesn’t matter. I have found several ways to kill them.

Some nights I try to calm myself with stories, I imagine that monsters are real, that vampires are real. He would most definitely be a vampire, only his precious food would be innocence and kindness. He would be an upgraded Count Dracula because he could suck everything out for good. I know this for sure, since he took something from me that I will never get back.

I often find myself touching the spot on my arm; the scar appears on it and I want to cry, but I can’t because he took all my tears away, as well. Then I panic and follow the trace of memory I store in a safe place so that I will never forget – I touch my head and I imagine feeling the bump where my skin met the hard edge of the bed, or I stop in the middle of the street and pretend I’m lacing my shoes, when I’m really just pushing my palm against my ankle, which I sprained one time because I pushed myself too aggressively against the wall while he was kissing me.

What a cruel way of breaking one’s heart. How wicked it is to take away one’s limited amount of living moments, replacing them with obsessive acts like constantly needing to touch themselves and remember themselves of certain nights that were spent in a dusty room that only had one faulty light bulb.

And if someone asks if I hate him for colouring me dark and replacing my waking moments with having to hear my heart break into a million pieces for years, I will say no. I don’t hate him.

#narrative #trauma #memoir #SzandraPetrik