sometimes I take Xanax (a letter to my abuser) by Phoenix Leigh

I’m fucked up, again. Not on Xanax this time, so I consider that a bonus. The last time I texted you I was on Xanax, and a bunch of other stuff, and it was from a Google Voice number you probably didn’t recognize, and I texted you to “square up, bitch.” You didn’t reply.

When I get too dizzy, I like to flop my head downwards and stare at the drain in the sink. Tiny symmetrical holes stare back up at me, swing around in my vision. Little vacuous chandeliers, dancing. I wish life was symmetrical like that. I wish I could make sense of things the way other people seem to. 

I don’t want to think about you anymore. I don’t want to think about anyone like you anymore. I don’t want to swallow my forgiveness and I don’t want to spit up my pride.

You made fun of me the way my father did. Once, I pointed towards the star-laced sky, smiled to show you how beautiful this world can be. 

“Those aren’t even stars, they’re probably fucking satellites.” You didn’t understand why that upset me. You didn’t understand why I cried so much, or why I couldn’t just say the right thing, or why I didn’t want to fuck you all the time. 

There was a time I thought you could learn to understand. We were sitting cross-legged in my bedroom, taking swigs of Franzia to get ready for a party you would hate. “You know, I used to ignore you when you were depressed, and wait for you to get better.” I took another swig, this time, of the cramped silence between us. Later, you would tell me that all my friends probably hated me, and everything I said was embarrassing, and predictably, that you hated parties, etc.

But you were lonely, and I was lonely, and I wasn’t always the nicest, and my parents wanted us to get married after 8 months of dating, and I didn’t think anyone else would ever stroke my hair while I screamed about the near-inescapable burden of living. So I stayed. Who wouldn’t?

“You remind me of my mom.” You didn’t say this, but you might as well have. No, someone else said that to me, last night, and they asked me how I could still love you. They stumbled over their words and dropped their cigarette and kept echoing “Sorry, I don’t mean to burden you.” I mumbled some shit about transformative justice and boundaries and empathy. You would have made fun of me for it. I don’t give a shit anymore about what you think, mostly.

Later that night, I threw up, just a little bit, in the drain of the sink. With my fingernails, I scooped out the pieces that wouldn’t push through. Well, I didn’t throw up that night, but I might as well have. Every day drips into the next, like vomit slipping through the sink drain. I’m waiting for me to get better, too. 

Sometimes, I still think about laying down at your feet, begging you to take care of me. I want to be your satellite, still. I want to be your stupid fucking naive high school girlfriend again. Sometimes, I get too drunk and take Xanax and wander the streets, hoping you’ll come find me. 

Obviously, you never do. 

Here’s to hoping you never do.


Phoenix Leigh (they/them) writes from Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can find them in Stone of Madness Press, Versification, and The Daily Drunk. You can find them on Twitter @theyquil, if you wish.


image: MM Kaufman