What’s in a bruise?


Date: 2/5/05
Rating: B/J - not rated
Authors notes: Feedback is more than welcome.
Disclaimer: all for fun
Warnings: there be angst ahead

I sat in the shadow light of the closet. I knew he wasn’t looking for me any more, so there was really no reason to hide. He had long since passed out. But I sat there anyway, because the air in that tiny space felt neutral. Like the rest of the air in the house was charged with his anger and his bitterness. But in my haven, the light slanting through the door, I could catch my breath…assess my damage…re-build myself with the pieces he had made.

I remember a teacher once noticing that I had bruises on my ribs and down my sides. Marks where my arms should have protected me but didn’t because I was pinned and couldn’t cover up. She knew the standard wisdom; children generally bruise on extremities and not on the torso. I remember her asking me how I got the bumps and contusions that she saw. Wanting to know if she should act on her instinct which said these marks weren’t symptoms of rough-housing, but instead, symptoms of a rough house. I looked back at her and lied. She retreated. I withdrew a little more.

In my sanctuary, I traced the outline of the bruise that was forming on my forearm. Drew my finger along the outline of his artwork. I knew the discolouration which was slowly seeping towards the surface would bloom in shades of purple, violet and deep red wine. Fading in time to jade and finally a transparent green shadow. Knew that I could mark time with the marks on my body and the shades they had ripened to. I regarded them as notches on a stick. A way to know that time was still passing and that one day I could leave it all behind.

In a way, you’re lucky if you get a bruise. At least a mark exists to show that a violation occurred. Bruises bring sympathy. Bruises validate that the abuse happened. They are an outward manifestation of otherwise unseen violence. Damage without a bruise is just damage. Invisible… indiscernible… imperceptible… undetectable.

I remember imagining that I was like the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. Hoping that what didn’t kill me would make me stronger - because I died a little on the inside every time he was able to hurt me and just walk away. But soon I felt nothing. I didn’t need salvation dreams. His anger occurred around me. Not through me. The bruises showed that he was there… but I wasn’t.

As I grew older I controlled the things I could, my grades, my interests, my ability to control others. I marked time until the bruises marked my exit. Hoping that the memory of my childhood would fade like the kaleidoscope of colours which had marked my passage.

But tonight, I rub my thumb over your wrist. Where you struggled against your bonds. From pleasure and not from pain. But still, you are marked and it causes me to reflect. I kiss and lick the slightly swollen skin. You look at me, as you come back from where your release took you, and your brow furrows slightly. You see into me. Not through me. I’m never alone when I’m with you.
But I know that this mark is because I pulled you to me and didn’t push you away. That we are bound together by agreement and not tethered by obligation. That I may test you, but I would never hurt you.

What’s in a bruise? My bruise marked me as no one’s. This bruise marks you as mine.