You ask why I flinch from you? I flinch because in the moment I sometimes forget where or when or who I am. I flinch away instinctively to keep you from glimpsing bruises or scabs or welts, all the shameful marks and reminders of my subjugation. I forget such physical evidence has long since faded because every time I look in the mirror it’s all I can see. Understand, darling: there is no future in my eyes. There is no present. I only see the past, relive fragments of memory or nightmare as if they’re all I’ve ever known and all I ever will. Can you blame me for my shame? Can you blame me for fearing you’ll turn from me in disgust if you see how tainted, how damaged, I am? Yours aren’t the first hands to touch me, and some things can’t be wiped from flesh or memory.


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