I peel my eyes open to find him back.
His deep green, all-encompassing eyes digging into my soul. His heavy black paw on my chest.
I can hear the baby crying in the distance, but try as I might, his paw is too heavy to lift.
Tears well in my eyes as his all-too-familiar dialogue fills my brain. His voice is like velvet. It’s hard to resist.
“They are worth more than you.”
“It will all be better when the silence falls.”
I’m tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of the repeated circle that I’ve followed for oh so long. I roll over and let sleep take me, giving in to the heaviness of panther. It’s easier than facing the day.
All too early and my eyes ping awake. Immediately, I can feel she’s here, and my tummy bubbles in nervous anticipation.
I try to catch her with my eyes, but she’s too fast, filling the room with her fluttering wings as she rushes to find a way out of the room. A combination of excitement and fear, my skin prickles with anxiety. Nothing can calm it, and I jump up and bounce from foot to foot, unsure why. Her voices are back—quick and enticing, telling me to do all the things I know I don’t truly want.
“You can be anything.”
“Go crazy and get messed up.”
“Leave him and find someone to screw.”
I’m not sure which to listen to: they’re all too loud. So this time, I drown them out, any way I can. Carrying the fluttering bird in my heart while she pounds my rib cage, attempting escape.
It’s a good kind of hurt.