Pain Begets Pain

My best friend’s rapist was her father.
In my mind practically a baby.

Can you imagine seeing him on holidays?
Dysfunctional old drunken motherfucker
threatening my life.

One New Years Eve after midnight,
crying in the locked car
beating clinched fists
upon the steering wheel.
It took her a while to let me in
from the cold.

Do you blame her
for needing Ambien to sleep?
Do you sit in judgment
of the demons she sang about?

Does this make my own tragedy
make any more sense?

Pain begets pain.

I thought I could end the cycle
by being a really good person.
A white knight.
Solve everything for everybody with
couple’s therapy and marriage vows.

By loving enough.

It almost worked.
She told me while climbing a tree
that everything beautiful came from me.

We had found in each other
mutual unconditional forgiveness.

Life’s tragedies happen in tiny moments
fucking frozen in time.
Ours involved a lake, 
a single pill
and the haunting memory of a final breath.

Pain begets pain.

Now it’s me who suffers,
growing old without the one I love.
Making due and getting by.
Writing through tears late at night.

There are a million terrible stories
in the world.
This just happens to be ours.




Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 23:15