Editor’s note: The following essay was submitted by a Lovefraud reader, who has discovered that she can find healing from her encounter with a sociopath through writing.
By Nancy Voelker
I see ”¦ a field as I drive through the countryside. We had a picnic and laid looking at clouds, bodies entwined.
I smell ”¦ smoke from a chimney. His arms were wrapped around me as music played softly and we watched the flames dance.
I taste ”¦ butter on my finger as I make dinner in my quiet kitchen. We spent an afternoon boiling lobsters and gorging ourselves. Kissing butter off our chins.
I hear ”¦ a song playing as I wander through the bookstore alone. He grabbed me and twirled me, laughing, to that song as he held me close.
I touch ”¦ my lips as I wash my face. When he kissed me, I thought my heart would burst.
I feel ”¦ memories. Longing. Bittersweet.
I see ”¦ His eyes narrow as he glares at me across the room if I talk to any man at the party.
Porn he forgot to erase on my computer.
Charges on my credit cards he forgot to mention.
Texts to strange numbers.
I smell ”¦ strange perfume on his clothes.
I smell a rat.
I taste ”¦ something sour in my mouth as I uncover lie after lie.
I hear ”¦ his insults, put downs, curses at me for being me.
I hear his fake laugh as everyone smiles.
I hear everyone say what a great guy he is.
I feel ”¦ the ache from him pulling my hair. I touch the bruises on my arms, my eye.
I feel the tears on my cheeks.
I see ”¦ the tears welling in his eyes”¦again.
I smell ”¦ the flowers he got me”¦again.
I taste ”¦ the wonderful breakfast he cooked for me in bed”¦again.
I hear ”¦ him begging for forgiveness. His pleading. Threats of suicide. His promises”¦again.
I feel ”¦ his warm hug as he wraps his arms tight around me. I feel his wet face and warm breath against my neck as he starts to seduce me.
I feel confused.
I feel hope”¦again.
I see ”¦ black, angry eyes I don’t recognize coming at me.
I smell ”¦ his rancid breath from too much alcohol, cigarettes, and anger churning in him, as he leans in my face.
I taste ”¦ blood on my swollen, cut lips from a shoe being jammed in my mouth. I taste more blood dripping down from my nose after being smashed into the floor. I taste bitter pills forced down my throat.
I hear ”¦ him say, “swallow.”
I hear him calmly whisper that he is going to kill me. That he is going to wrap my body in a sheet and bury me where no one will find me.
I feel ”¦ his hands tighten for the third time around my throat and squeeze.
I see ”¦ my house for the last time as my friend burns out of the driveway. I see the horror in her eyes.
I smell ”¦ him on me.
I taste ”¦ fear.
I hear ”¦ my phone ring as he tries to find me.
I feel ”¦ numb.
I can’t see ”¦ I’ve cried so much. I start to see faces everywhere that show judgment, pity, avoidance.
I see emptiness in my eyes.
I smell. Period. I haven’t showered in days.
I taste ”¦ cardboard whenever I try to eat. I taste wine. And too much, I taste vomit.
I hear ”¦ the ticking of the clock. I hear laughter from backyard barbecues as I try to walk and get fresh air”¦ only to hear the clock ticking as I fall back in bed. I hear my heart breaking.
I feel ”¦ everything. Then nothing. Then everything. The bad everything. I feel like dying. I feel the sleeping pill kicking in.
I see ”¦ my face and body healing. I see peace returning to my eyes and to those that love me and stuck by me. I see people willing to help me heal.
I smell ”¦ my favorite perfume that he didn’t like. I smell my new puppies’ breath.
I taste ”¦ my mom’s homemade soup. Pizza with a friend. The last sweet remnant of rich, dark chocolate.
I hear ”¦ stories and encouragement from women like me. I hear beautiful music in yoga. I hear myself laughing again, a little more each day.
I feel ”¦ God, who never left me. I feel the hugs from wonderful people helping me through this. I feel my arms wrapped around myself. I feel my strength slowly returning”¦
I see ”¦ the many people he has hurt and scammed, now through different eyes.
I smell ”¦ the truth surfacing.
I taste ”¦ validation.
I hear ”¦ sadly, that he has a new victim, but I don’t know where she is to warn her. I hope she can see, taste, hear, and feel my words or words like these that will make her run or change her life before her light is dimmed by his darkness.
I feel ”¦ his time will run out.
For myself, I now see, smell, taste, hear and feel my freedom every day.
I AM A SURVIVOR.
© 2011 Nancy Voelker. May not be reproduced without the permission of the author.