The little things matter...

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Before I ended up in an abusive romantic relationship with a narcissist (I call him 'the narc'), I often found myself merrily skipping down the street; I would randomly just start skipping or burst into dance whenever I felt like it. I just felt this childlike freedom, and I genuinely didn't care what others thought of me. Actually, I didn't even think of others watching or judging me.

This is something the narc made me aware of ~ how others could be watching and judging, at all times. He actually made me very aware that others' had opinions of me, which eventually made me very self-conscious.

I stopped skipping after the narc had a hold on me. And I've not skipped that way again since.

I noticed this week that I have a new way of feeling that childlike freedom though. It hit me yesterday, as I was walking from my therapy session towards my house, I found myself suddenly stopping and just standing there in the sunlight. I closed my eyes and faced the sun. Feeling the wind on my face and the air around me. Listening to the wind rustling the leaves of the many trees nearby. 'Twas beautiful. That moment helped me realise that I do this often; I stand in sunlight or moonlight as much as possible. If the urge hits me, I'll stop anywhere and look up, I'll close my eyes and bathe in the light, and just stand there appreciating the moment. I don't care what others think once again, if only they knew the path I've walked to get to these moments.

Sometimes, under that magical natural light, I even lip sync my favourite lyrics or mantras that help me feel safe & balanced.

And the narc will never know that part of me.

I love that. I love that he no longer knows me; he doesn't know the woman I'm becoming.

Fuck yeah!

I read somewhere recently that every 7-10 years we essentially become new people as, in that time, every cell in our bodies has been replaced by a new cell. That made me smile as in a few more years I would have slowly replaced the cells that asshole touched. I love that he doesn't know the woman I am today. He has no clue how much I've grown and who I've become. I love that so much. It's like slowly washing away the evil from my body & mind. I am the woman I choose to be.

Grief Period

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I'm gonna get straight into it...

After my abortion, I bled ~ non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no breaks, just a constant flow of heavy bleeding from my vagina ~ for 8 months straight. I was told by doctors before I went into theatre ~ I had to have a surgical abortion, I wrote all about it here "Do you ever think about our abortion?" ~ that there would be some bleeding after the operation; that was normal. However, I was not prepared for 8 months of constant bleeding, and it seems like this was surprising to the doctors too as various tests and check-ups were carried out over some time to see if anything had gone wrong during surgery. Nothing was found, there were no other health issues either; everything was "fine". There was no explanation for the constant bleeding that I thought might never end. I was then given some tablets to stop the bleeding ~ which did reduce it but the bleeding continued, and it was only after 8 months that the flow of blood stopped.

I was 19 years old, surrounded by abusive relationships (familial and romantic), heartbroken and really struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness. After those 8 months of bleeding, I was so happy to no longer be bleeding that I did my best to suppress my feelings and just move on from the abortion. After all, I didn't want kids so this abortion didn't mean anything...right?

It wasn't until over a decade later that I opened that abortion box and began to deal with the feelings I felt back when I was 19, feelings that were now intensified as I had forced them to hush for so long. With the help of a ~ bloody (pardon the pun) marvellous ~ therapist, I started to process and deal with that abortion; how I felt about it and everything else surrounding it, such as my abusive then boyfriend who forced me to have that abortion, the history of trauma in my family and in my life, the pressure to be a young woman who conforms quietly into a sick society...y'know, the usual.

I'm in a much better place now at 31 than my 19 year old self was; I no longer suppress my emotions and I have boundaries now ~ which helps keep narcissistic people who emotionally abuse me into having abortions away from me.

I feel good, I'm taking care of myself; I'm healing.

But I never again questioned that 8-months-long-post-abortion bleeding. Not until recently, when someone I've been following on Instagram for a while talked about grief period ~ not just the time of grief, but the bleeding that can take place for some of us during times of grief. The person who mentioned this has recently gone through a really traumatic time and has been on her period since the trauma. Her doctor told her that "it is perfectly normal to experience irregular or "mourning periods"" as she calls them. Since she shared her story, many others have contacted her to share their mourning period story too. This blew my mind, left me in shock, opened a wound that I thought I was done with; a wound I believed had healed. Did I bleed for 8 months straight after that abortion because I was mourning? Whether I was mourning or not, I don't know how else to explain that constant bleeding other than the abortion was quite traumatic for me.

Since this realisation, I've started to remember how attached I felt to whomever was in my belly. It's opened a gate for me. I remember the morning sickness (or more like all day long sickness ~ why is it even called morning sickness?), the cravings ~ I couldn't go a day without oranges & orange juice ~ the emotions, and I did feel attached; I felt this strange & mysterious love for my child. It was painful to have that abortion, it was painful to go through all of it; the pregnancy test, hearing the "it's positive" result, being manipulated by a narcissist boyfriend who claimed to want the best for us but who couldn't even attend the post abortion appointment with me because he had "football with the boys". It was all just too fucking much.

But as I'd never wanted kids I thought "I shouldn't feel these things; I shouldn't feel attached, this abortion shouldn't be a difficult thing to go through!"

Thing is, even if we don't want kids, it is difficult. And it is okay to struggle; it is okay to not feel okay. Abortions are an extremely difficult experience to go through, for anyone; whether it is necessary to terminate the pregnancy for health reasons or for personal reasons, it is fucking hard.

When we're pregnant, our bodies adjust to become grow a baby and give birth, and we go through changes and things we just cannot be fully prepared for. I didn't want kids then, and I don't want kids now, but that does not mean that it isn't hard to go through an abortion. I believe that I would have always followed through with that abortion, it was the right thing to do for me, but I needed time to make that decision for myself; it shouldn't have been my abusive boyfriend's decision. It shouldn't be anyone's decision but the person who is having to go through this process. Terminating a pregnancy is a very difficult decision to come to, and to process and cope with. We need to let people decide what to do with their bodies, and we need to support them no matter what their decision is. The stigma surrounding abortions and periods needs to fucking end, and I hope to see positive changes when it comes to pregnancies, breast feeding, pregnancies, periods...and I plan to be part of that positive change.

To my 19 year old self, I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. But I am here now.

(I chose this photo of my 19 year old self as I was still going through my post abortion grief bleeding here, and I spent a good chunk of this party hiding in the bathroom in tears. Can't tell though, can you?)

Darling girl, I'm taking care of us now. You're healing, living ~ really living ~ and you have so much love within you and in your life now, and that narcissistic boyfriend is fucking long gone. Things get better, so much better!

I love you xxx 

I can see colours again

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Journal entries above say ~ 

28th February 2018: 
"I'm now officially 30.
As I'm nowhere near where I planned to be at 30, this birthday was actually quite a painful one.
I'm feeling less suicidal but I'm still extremely low and weak and tired."

2nd March 2018:
"I miss the old me so much it hurts.
I just want something to kill me now. I'm tired and I'm done with this mental and emotional pain."

Journal entry above says ~ 

28th March 2018:
"Things have changed so much!
Since my Laparoscopy and removal of Endometriosis, I've actually been feeling so much better.
For starters, I'm no longer feeling suicidal.
I have energy.
I feel like doing more.
I've managed to start volunteering.
My anxiety is much better.
I don't feel depressed.
I'm doing another Mindfulness course.
I'm feeling hopeful about the future.
I'm doing okay."

Can you spot the difference between these journal entries?

As you can see, I wrote the top/first and second entries on 28th February 2018 and on 2nd March 2018. I remember feeling so overwhelmed, exhausted and fed up of living with such mental ill health, I just wanted the pain to end, I just needed for it to be over. A few weeks before I wrote these entries, I took an overdose and prayed that it would end my life. I so looked forward to not waking up ever again; I so needed a fucking break from feeling pain all the fucking time.

Then a month later - the bottom/ third entry - on 28th March 2018, I wrote about starting to feel better. Within a month, my world changed. Don't get me wrong, it didn't take a month; I have been in therapy and living a recovery focused lifestyle for over three years now. But I noticed a big shift within that month - from 28th February to 28th March 2018. It's so surreal. Even though it happened, I feel the change, I still can't yet believe it; I just can't grasp how my years of constant agony changed so much within a month. It was years and years of hard work on healing and recovery, but within that one month, life changed for the better.

I came across these journal entries recently and it hit me just how little time there was between suicidal and genuine joy & stability. I didn't go from suicidal to manic, I went from suicidal to a stable level of emotional; I felt okay!

I go through old journals a few times a year now, I started this ritual during my mental health crisis when I noticed from my words - past & present - how my moods and beliefs changed drastically very quickly; I could go from manic to suicidal so suddenly, often within the same day (I can feel all my fellow Borderline Personality Disorder sufferers out there nodding along 'cause SAME).

This past year has been my biggest shift though, and I wanted to share these entries here to remind myself and others that things can change in a positive way; the constant pain and torment can pass. With the right treatment, help, support, love and self-care, we are able to heal. We really can survive that which is trying to kill us.

And it is not beautiful and it is not easy or simple, like some Hollywood movies make it seem. It's ugly, it's dark, lonely, terryfying, it hurts,it is the hardest thing we've ever had to do, it can kill, but at some stage of recovery, we can wake up and there are colours again. It starts to move in slowly; for me the world seemed less grey and painful, then it was more colourful, now it is bright - but not too bright that it blinds me, bright enough that I can bathe in the brightness of colours and look at them without being blinded or overwhelmed.

(Trigger Warning ~ Self-harm)

Everything seems grey during a mental health crisis. Do you know what I mean? Colours just are covered by a layer of greyness. Actually, everything - even black and white - has a grey cover over it.

Everything tastes and smells different too. Like ash. It's like everything turns into different forms of grey ash.

I used to keep razor blades hidden everywhere; in different corners in my room, in my hand bag, in my purse, in my underwear drawer. And I always reminded myself that I was never too far away from a pharmacy or supermarket; places where I could get razor blades for 99p. This thought was comforting to me then.

One self-harm episode though, when cutting my hands and arms didn't do the trick, I then broke a frame and used the glass to cut my face and neck.

Cutting my neck felt so satisfying. It helped soothe the intensity of my emotions. It's like when you take a deep breath "Ahhh. The release and relief. THANK YOU!"

In hospital later, I felt annoyed when I noticed that as I'd used glass rather than the razor blade on my face and neck, it didn't cut as deep as my arms."Gggrrr, you can't even harm yourself properly" that mean voice whispered.

A doctor sorting me out with stitches said "You will get through this one day, try not to cut yourself but especially not your face and neck as you'll be reminded of this dark time every time you look at yourself".

I remember feeling numb. So numb. And thinking: "Get through this? I'm not gonna survive this, let alone really look at myself again, you fool."

But I said nothing and just cried. Quietly. I can still feel the tears streaming down my face after what he said. The silence was deafening, and my tears rolled down my face as if they were so heavy they were carving paths in my skin.

Even with my disbelief in what he was saying, his words did leave a mark: "You will get through this..."

It's been around two years since that episode, and this morning I re-read the words from the above journal entries and I looked at my face in the mirror and was reminded of what that doctor said. I saw a beautiful soul, a kind, honest, open, brave, soul.

And I thought "I am no longer in that place; he was right. I am getting through it, every day. I survived. I'm surviving, I'm actually thriving."

It's been over a year since I last self-harmed, and over a year of stability and balance. It still feels surreal, I feel nervous about how well things are going. Don't get me wrong, things aren't perfect; there is struggle, there is pain and difficulties, but I manage. I can manage now, my emotions no longer control me; I can pause and feel and find comfort in dicomfort. I can explore why I'm feeling or thinking certain ways, and I can sit with what comes up without reacting. It is constant work, but it feels easier and I am so much better at doing the work. I am still messy, but now I get that I am magic and that I am mine; I belong to me and my life is mine to lead.

I can see colours again. And food tastes good again, and I can smell Lavender and Patchouli and Jasmine again. The great tastes, smells and beautiful colours are still here; they never left me after that month. I burn incenses and candles every night now, as if to remind myself of what I missed for so long and to bathe in that wonderfulness. Oh the smell is so glorious, and the colours. Have you seen the colours?!

I like to call this photo 'All the Colours'. I took this whilst out & about in beautiful & bustling Brick Lane - during my mental health crisis I thought I'd never enjoy walking around London again. I'm glad I was wrong about that.

Now I really believe anything is possible.


I had a dream...I lived a nightmare...and now I'm awake

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I had a dream last week that I was being raped, but I had agreed to it.
I think I know what that represents.
I think it represents the way I felt and believed that I had no say in what my body experienced; like it was made for the use and pleasure of others, men especially.

When I was younger, I felt I was being raped on many occasions, but I believed that was my role in life. My purpose was to be used and abused. And so I agreed to go along with what others wanted.
I didn't think saying 'no' was an option that was available to me. I didn't think it was my right. It wasn't an option open to me.
Consent wasn't a word I was aware of. That word didn't exist in my vocabulary.

The one time I felt genuine love - not like the romantic love that we are sold by society, but a mutual respect kind of love - and effortless pleasure - again, not the idea of pleasure that is sold to us but genuine 'I want to be here and connect with this person' pleasure.
A pleasure that I didn't have to force and fake.

That love and pleasure that I never felt with my narc ex.
I think that says a lot, don't you?

The one time that I felt that love and pleasure was in Candybar, in Soho. With Maria.

She messaged me the day after. Wanting to meet up - coffee?

But I felt that meeting her could lead to me dating her. I felt a connection.
And dating a woman was not my right; it was against the law or something.
Because my purpose was to satisfy men. or at least make them believe they were satisfying me.

I'm sorry to myself for not letting myself follow my intuition, my wants, my needs, my calling.
I'm sorry for treating me that way, for denying myself happiness.
It would have been perfectly fine to date Maria, my darling girl. And to experience passion and joy with her.
And to feel safe.
I felt safe with Maria. I only knew her for one night a few hours one night years ago, but time doesn't make anything special - it's what you feel and experience that makes something special.

I forgive myself.
I can't go back and follow my intuition,
but I can do it now and change my present and my future.
At least I woke up, and now I know my truth.

I'm awake.

"When people show you their true colours, believe them"

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"When people show you their true colours, believe them"
Dolly Parton

And trust your instincts. your intuition. your gut feeling. I'm not talking about the voice in your head that's been conditioned by society, but your own voice; your intuition.

What does it say?

My intuition told me to run, avoid and stay away from him (I'll later refer to 'him' as the narc later in this post - narc as in short for narcissistic bastard).

I did my best to get away from him, but he was so persistent. The narc harassed me for almost two years. And I have an issue with unjustified guilt, so I struggled with that persistence; my people pleasing self blamed me for not giving him what he wanted. I felt guilty that he persisted so much for me to date him, like "it's my fault he won't leave me alone. He's in pain, so I need to help him by giving in to his wishes". 

I think he worked that out quite early on - I don't know if he worked that out consciously or not, but he knew how to play me with a good guilt trip. He dedicated The Kooks' "Naive" to me after all. I was naive & vulnerable, and he knew it.

Sometimes when I look back at the shit I allowed and how vulnerable I was, and how much I tried to see the good in people, and how much I tried to please people, I feel nauseated.

He was right. I was naive.

Fuck's sake.

I didn't even like him. I definitely didn't love him. It was a very sick & toxic relationship. I felt like I had no choice. I gave in. And then I stayed. I stayed for over a decade. I made attempts to get away a few times throughout the years, but I never managed to. he always clawed his way back into my life.

I wish I could at least say "I loved him so much! That's why I stayed!" but I didn't. I actually think I hated him. from day one. I didn't respect the person he was. from day one. He was arrogant, racist, sexist, homophobic, rude, disrespectful, self-centred, aggressive. Definitely not a kind person, but a wounded & dangerous soul.

I never wanted people like him in my life. Actually, I spent years trying to get rid of those people, like my narcissistic father, my abusive uncle, toxic friends. So what the fuck happened!?

Was it a case of you stick to what's familiar? I believe so. I'm very familiar with narcissistic abuse, I've known it my whole life. So it fits. And a pinch of Stockholm Syndrome.

When we first met, I was actually with someone else. But it got to a point in our relationship where I felt overwhelmed, and I just needed to be single, to be alone. to think. to be selfish. to figure out what was going on in my head (undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder is what was going on in my head - I found that out a decade later!)

I needed and wanted to be single. But when I found myself single, the narc started harassing me even more. He didn't care that I was with someone else when he first started harassing me, and he definitely didn't care that I wanted to be single after that relationship.

To cope with this narc, I kept telling myself lies about him; I "repainted" the evil that wouldn't let me go, so many times. for so many years. Stockholm Syndrome, seriously.

Illustration by Amanda Oleandar 

I don't have one reason for why I gave this person so much of my time. of my life. But I need to forgive myself for doing so.

It was familiar.
He didn't leave me alone.
I was a people pleaser who struggled with unjustified guilt,
and not pleasing people triggered my guilt.
Stockholm Syndrome makes a lot of sense to me - I wasn't physically captive, but emotionally, yes, and everything else fits.

Whatever it was, I'm just so sorry past me. I'm so sorry that I didn't prioritise you over others. You needed me more than anyone else ever did or ever will.

I eventually did break away from the narc. Didn't take too long for him to hunt me down though, the harassment started to take off again.

But this time I reported him to the police. He just wouldn't leave me alone, again. he wouldn't leave my family alone. And I needed him to disappear. I needed to continue to move on with my life.

I was starting to heal, and I was feeling stronger.
I could really escape this time.

So I went to the police.

The police officers I met with were helpful. At first, I had to tell a summary of my history with the narc to a police officer, and this was then passed on, to a detective. A few days later, the detective contacted me and I then had to go into more detail. It was distressing, difficult, upsetting, triggering. Telling someone else about the abuse you lived with for a decade is fucking hard, man. But for me, it was worth it.

The detective asked me to provide proof of harassment, which I did. Going to court was mentioned - the narc had another harassment warning from another previous partner, which supported my case - but I really didn't want to go to court; as much as I would have loved to lock him up so he can't harm anyone else, I just couldn't see his face again or relive a decade of abuse in court.

So, it was agreed they'd bring the narc in and warn him. And if he contacted me after that, the case would be escalated. I shuddered at the thought.

I was surprised at how useful going to the police was.

They brought him in, warned him.

The detective called me to give me an update: "we've spoken to him, we have him on record saying he will leave you alone. If he contacts you or approaches you ever again, call us and we will escalate this."

Fuck. it's done.

I was emotional for weeks: "The narc is really gone?" It felt too good for that to be true.

I was still scared of going to places where the narc might pop up, but the more I went out and didn't see him, the safer I felt. The more time went by and I didn't hear from him, the more liberated I felt.

The bastard narc really is gone.

I've only grown more confident and more at peace since he's been out of my life. It's like I've reclaimed my life, day by day.

It's coming up to a year since I reported the narc to the police.
It's been a year of freedom and healing. and peace. Oh the blissful peace. And Joy, so much Joy! (yes, with a capital 'J'!)

I'm free.
My life is mine again.
I can heal.
I am healing.
I can live the life I have always wanted to live.
I am living the life I've always dreamed of.

Fuck. it's real. it's really real.

And I'm learning to forgive myself. I need to forgive myself for not knowing what I didn't know. And I'm proud of myself for learning.

To those in a similar situation; stuck with a narcissist in your life - whether it be a partner, a friend, or a family member - ask for help. Please. Scream, shout, fight for the help you have a right to. Narcissistic abusive is very serious, and it claims lives. Please take care of you the best you can.

"Relationship with a Narcissist in a nutshell:
You will go from being the perfect love of their life to nothing you do is ever good enough.
You will give your everything and they will take it all and give you less and less in return.
You will end up depleted emotionally, mentally, spiritually and probably financially, and then get blamed for it"
Bree Bonchay

If this sounds familiar, it shouldn't be this way. Please ask for help.

To those that say "But why didn't you leave sooner?!" I have a quote for you: 

"When people talk about emotional abuse they've been on the receiving end of, they talk about it with the clarity that comes when you realise what it was. When you're living it, you don't see it for what it is. So stop asking why people don't just leave"
Alexandria Neonakis

Finally Found

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I lost myself for a while.
Actually, I was lost for a long, long, fucking time.
But I'm finally found.
And I'm lucky, and so grateful, to have found me.
The darkness and the limbo were going to kill me.
It really was.
And it was almost successful.

Sometimes I have to stop.
And really feel my body, my mind, and ask myself:
Am I really here?
Did I really survive?
Do I really continue to survive?
Am I actually beginning to thrive?

It's so surreal.

I didn't know the soul could feel such pain.

And now I'm feeling such inner peace. and joy.
And love. and kidness.

I didn't know the soul could feel such peace. such joy.

I didn't think I could heal. I didn't think I was capable of healing.

But here I am. Loving, forgiving, self-caring, thriving, healing despite it all.

“Let It Enfold You” by Charles Bukowski

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“Let It Enfold You” by Charles Bukowski

Either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
I trusted no man and
especially no

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.
women were something
to screw and rail
at, I had no male

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
English accents, Spain,
France, Italy, walnuts and
the colour
algebra angered me,
opera sickened me,
Charlie Chaplin was a
and flowers were for

peace and happiness to me
were signs of
tenants of the weak

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
that I wasn’t different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
darkness was the

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
just staring at the
knobs of some
or listening to the
rain in the
the less I needed
the better I

maybe the other life had worn me
I no longer found
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into

I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the

I re formulated
I don’t know when,
date, time, all
but the change
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
i no longer had to
prove that I was a

I didn’t have to prove

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
then- it was

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I’ve missed too many
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, ‘I am going
to have to let you go’

‘it’s all right’ I tell

He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children,
expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
the whole day is

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, breasts,
singing, the

(don’t get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
this is a shield and a

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
but when the good
moments arrived
I didn’t fight them off
like an alley
I let them take me,
I luxuriated in them,
I made them welcome
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and
scares, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby’s

and finally I discovered
real feelings of
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the tote board waiting for
I saw the shape of my
wife’s head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the

I kissed her in the
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvellous
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
I entered the world
drove down the
past the houses
full and empty
I saw the mailman,
he waved
at me.

Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved. Unapologetically Elly ©