There were several reasons I shouldn’t have gone to see him that day, such as the fact that it was over a hundred degrees out and I’d barely had any water and would almost have a heat stroke a few hours later because of it. Or the fact that he wasn’t mine anymore, he was with a friend of mine who’d broken up with me on his behalf after they got together. Or really the fact that he’d whistled to hurt my ears when I annoyed him and thrown me into walls and wove manipulation into everything he said should’ve kept me away. But despite all that I went to the park that summer afternoon to see him. We met up and headed to the tree-sheltered rocky shore of the creek because there was nowhere else to go in that small town and he kissed me. I kissed him back and felt my pants tighten as his hands traced my body and god did I miss him but something held us back as his hands went down my pants. Maybe it was the knowledge that we shouldn’t have touched each other at all or maybe he really had stopped loving me and decided the sex wasn’t worth it or maybe I was starting to realize I needed to stop seeing him. I don’t remember what happened next but I know we were there for a while and after a while his fist was in my stomach again and my vision was blurry and I remembered there were things I didn’t miss. I don’t remember anything else that day except laying in my bed feeling like my brain was in another dimension and I don’t know how much of that was because it almost cooked itself and how much was because I’d gone back for a second helping of trauma after being forcibly removed from it. I told him I almost went to the hospital for a stroke the next day but he never responded.

Phoenix is a 20 year old nonbinary writer and student at Lane. They experienced an incredibly physically and emotionally abusive relationship at 14, which ended up being a catalyst for their previously undiagnosed mental illnesses. They’ve since gone to therapy and come very far from who they were at the time, having moved cities and made a lot of progress on themself in and out of therapy.

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