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today I did not think about him
It is the first time in an entire year that I haven’t
I don’t realize this until tomorrow
but it is an accomplishment nonetheless

today I went to lunch, did laundry, drove to the gym
I didn’t see his shadow in my rear view mirror
It is the first time during a commute where I don’t feel the overwhelming urge to pull over
often the speed of the traffic mixed with the acceleration of my thoughts guides me to the side of the road
anxiety blowing loudly through the vents into my open mouth until I am too tired to focus-
today is the first time that didn’t happen

last week I googled “therapists near me”
I settled on a woman with a nice smile and a specialty for trauma
This is the first time I find myself familiar with that word
almost comfortable like a distant family member I am just now recognizing
trauma is something with one definition but too many faces
for the past eight months I have been wearing his

on monday I spend an hour in the office of a stranger
she asks me why I’m here and I respond with I don’t know but
my answer is as dishonest as my avoidance is expanding
she asks me how I am and I almost forget that I didn’t come all this way to say fine
for a moment I almost forget that I am not.

I tell her about him without trying
I don’t say his name
or the details I remember with more clarity each day that goes by
she says memories are really only what we remember each time we remember them
I think it’s funny how I remember more every time I do
how sometimes laying in bed becomes catalyst to chest pain
I can still feel him kneeling on top of mine
pressing body into cracked ribs into spit on my neck
I can hear his humming of a song they play too often on the radio
there is no trigger warning for the reminders life has to offer
I find them everywhere without trying

she understands as much as I want her to
she says it’s really about power
I say I know
she asks if I feel like I lost some kind of control
I say yes
I don’t tell her that I have spent countless hours trying to find it
in bodies that aren’t my own
digging nails into muscle and mattress trying to pull out some semblance of who I used to be
For too long I have covered up with a bandage
I am just now ripping it off for the first time
this pain is a sort of cleansing
I took three showers after he left but it is only today that I feel his remnants washed off my skin
I can’t help but wonder if this is what Pinocchio felt the first time he was honest with his demons

today I did not think about him
yesterday I did not think about him
the day before I only thought about myself and pizza and myself again
there is very real possibility that my mind could figure out a way to bring back the unwanted
that tomorrow could be another way to remember
but today I didn’t
I went to lunch, did laundry, drove to the gym
I made it home without incident
not perfect,
but it is an accomplishment

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