Stockholm Syndrome | Deborah Amarachi Nwaeze

You are sitting here now in a chemist’s shop, your lips quivering with unshed tears. It is not because of the bruises and cuts on your skin that your heart is heavy, it is the jagged scars lining your soul, its gnarled branches reaching deep into your mind and poking it over and over again, like a little child on a pester mission. You shut your eyes tightly as the probably under-qualified chemist begins to stich your wounds. You silly girl, he can probably smell it on you. Desperation, foolishness. You might not be imagining his oily face scrunched up in disgust. I think now we would assume that you are gathering your thoughts like the chaffed but eager hands of a farmer would his yams during harvest. But no.
Here you are, grief tugging at your sleeves roughly. Why are you grieving? Is it because you realize how deep in you are? Or is it because you remember how much you needed to sew his lies to your skin, thick against prickles of truth, savouring your greatest sin? How you had to pick up after him, whatever crumbs of affection he left, like a mouse after cheese?
Just hours ago, you were in his sphere, naked and panting, your skin sweaty and sheen with his coating of pleasure. He was grunting and fisting your hair, sinking farther and farther into you. And your half open eyes were swimming with desire. His smell, not cologne now, what was it? Body wash? He smelled like fresh apples and pines. He fogged your mind. He hit spots that had to have been unholy, your fingers raked over his taut body, memorizing him, your ears trained on the sighs falling from his full lips.
The minute he peaks, he’s off you, like you are a fantasy fulfilled, discarded and kept in a safe place, never to be revisited. Sweet girl, why do you look confused? Is it because he grabs his pants and drags them up his legs, his fly still open. He does not look at you, even as you try to catch his eyes. What is this song that you have to dance to every time? He sits at his desk in a corner of the room and wears his glasses. He is quiet for a while, a deafening silence hanging in the air, only pierced by the whirring of the air-conditioner. He opens his laptop, hunches over as usual and begins to click away.
Your arms circle you because you suddenly feel cold. When you open his blog tonight, you would see his latest story about his lover, her thick Marley braids spilling over his pillow as he drives into her and whispers all the sweet things you didn’t hear tonight. Tonight you would equally grab your shirt and pants and wear them frantically, needing air. Tonight you would walk into a fast lane and get hit by a truck that luckily hits its brakes early enough to leave only a few bruises and cuts. Here you are, asking yourself why you savour the bittersweet taste of your sin, under the disgusted gaze of a probably under-qualified chemist.
You are not gathering your thoughts, sadly. You will go back to him tonight and tell him that he is a brilliant writer. You will lick your wounds alone because you are too afraid of loneliness to save your scorned sanity.

Deborah Amarachi Nwaeze, a closet singer was born and raised in Lagos Nigeria where she currently lives. When she is not reading or writing, she is scouting for meat to eat.