there are measures we can take. there are steps, procedures to put in place, ways in which I can learn when to bite and when not to bite my tongue, when to walk away and when to assure you that I’m coming back. more essential: there are ways in which you can admit that parts of you are broken, that parts of you are breaking me. because while I may chose to stay, while I do love you, this responsibility is not mine, and cannot be, because the choice to pursue change is yours. I am reaching for a drowning man, and his fingers are going not for my arms but for my eyes. his words cry help, but then cry murder, and then convince me so seductively that it is water that our lungs are aching for, not air. 

A little girl learns that sometimes when her father is angry, he will yell and yell, make himself hoarse with names and swears, kick and throw things at the walls but never at her, but if she waits until he is done, goes quietly up to her room to cry, and waits, he will come up those steep stairs, remorseful, every time. I’m so sorry. He will grovel, and the peace will be made, as long as the temporary storm is weathered. His anger grows less frightening with time, not more. But then, sometimes, a woman still pretends to be a child, but this man is not her father nor does he act the same. She loves him in a different way and he rages in a different way and now when she sits there and listens, until it’s time to cry and wait for the apology, she feels as though she’s doing something wrong.