I Know How This Goes

Trigger warning: I first shared this piece in a Master’s level writing course and it was hard on one of the women in my class, so I want to preface it with this warning.
I Know How This Goes is a counter piece to You Know How This Goes. I wrote and share these pieces with the intention of analyzing the possible mindset of victim and abuser.

I Know How This Goes

Mirror

Hazel eyes interrogate. Searching for the girl in there, I peer into glass and watch as she crumbles.

Attention sought from another man. Not always acquired, it is constantly required. By a woman who refuses to be unavailable. She will offer what would otherwise be taken.

I return to the jumbled memories of the night before, adding to the collection of uncertain and ambiguous affection.

Not recalling if I asked for the ride or he offered, it was clear I couldn’t get myself home. His decision to take me to his house, to steady my stumbling gait, to guide me down unknown hallways to his bedroom. We’ll be there later.

My decision to not walk away.

Finding the girl behind the bleary gaze, I remind her she isn’t to blame.

I learned the first time, seventeen and sober. I climbed in the blaze red truck. I rode to the overlook, away from spying lights and safe sights. I let him drive me home.

If something happened I didn’t intend, I would’ve known. I would’ve struggled; I would’ve clawed his eyes out; I would’ve screamed if I really wanted to.

The desire will stamp out the defeat. No one can harmfully take what is freely given.

Losing sight of the girl who was, I find only the woman who is.

Eyes soften, tears flow, resolve breaks.

When I am free of shame, then I won’t repeat.

I know how this goes.

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