Surviving Pain

His finger ran the length of her jaw; she trembled. Had she been able to, she’d have recoiled from the touch. The tips of his fingers were as many scraping knives on her skin. She was nauseous, her stomach heaving, as she almost retched. She was aware of every single nerve, tingling in terrified anticipation.

His caress on her neck was like a chokehold. His palm burnt like fire and ice: goosebumps of disgust ran on her skin. The sour taste of bile rose in her mouth. She sunk into the mattress, too soft for the purpose it would serve. It may have made her comfortable if the circumstances were different. She could tell; it was firm enough and the sheets must at least be 150 thread per square inch. Egyptian cotton maybe: he had luxury tastes she knew. In a way, she was that too. A luxury of another sort.

Her skin, clammy and cold, rejected every single one of his attempt to ignite desire. There was none. His hands might be soft but on her skin they seemed like a stubbled chin: rough and scratchy. His fingers ran over the bumpy fleshy scar on her side. She gasped: it was as if he’d planted a knife there, the pain and horror suddenly too much. The memories washed over her. She almost threw up; but she clamped her mouth shut.

His eyes met hers and there was knowledge there.
“You’re not ready.”
She shook her head.
“I am.”
She sounded determined: at least she wanted to but she couldn’t deny her voice trembled. He smiled sadly.
“Jen. I love you for what you’re doing but it’s hurting you. I won’t have you associate our love making with that monster.”
“But I want…”
Her face was suddenly warm… and wet. Tears. They were tracing rivers and chasms on her cheeks. He sat on the bed, gathered her in his arms. She shivered but there was no flirting in his touch, no sensual attempt. It was safe to lean in. Suddenly his naked chest, softened by a dawn of curly dark hair, felt comforting, reassuring.
His hand on her head threading through her hair soothed her, his lips on her brow warm and soft calmed her. A soft breath on her ear.
“Shush. I know Jen. I want it too. But not if you’re terrified. I can wait.”
She snuggled into his neck seeking peace and serenity, both of which had eluded her for the past hour. When would her boyfriend’s touch fail to terrify her? When would she be able to think of this as love making and not something scary, dirty and associated with that monster? How long could he wait? How long could she?

“What if I never…”
“Shush. Love is patient Jen. I’m patient. Be patient with yourself. What he did to you…”
“I don’t want it to define me, my life.”
“I know. I know. But it takes time. And look how far you’ve come. Can you feel my skin against yours?”
The question brought it home. They were both naked. Her breast pressed against his hairy chest. The awareness of it brought new tears to her eyes. Two months ago, she still didn’t let him see her without clothes. A month ago she still hadn’t slept in the same bed as he. Almost two years: he had been more than patient. She had made progress. But…
“Some day, soon or not so soon, we will share this honey. When you’re ready. Not before.”
“I love you.”
She whispered.


In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Tale weaver prompts Touch and Dark Side (belatedly).

In response to the Daily Post writing promt aware


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Lorraine says:

    Another powerful tale — woven with care and intensity. You are truly a wordsmith. I am at a loss for words, you have blown me away with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your praise 🙏🏻🙏🏻


      1. Lorraine says:

        Much deserved praise.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael says:

    Wonderful response Stephanie. I have a friend to whom this tale would be a powerful trigger. Like your protagonist, she too feels this way about love making and it will take her a long time to let it go and trust the man she is with. I thought you caught the terror of the touch and the acceptance of his love so very accurately. Thank you for participating in Tale Weaver, I value your contributions..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you again Michael.
      I never intend these kinds of stories to be triggers but rather tributes to those who have known such an overwhelming – sometimes destructive – experience but who still try to find their way back to living. I guess that’s why I didn’t stay on the dark side with this tale although I have known friends who never really recovered though they pretended to.
      I hope your friend finds her way back to the light.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael says:

        She trying I do know that…but I do understand the trauma some have been through and it is for some a life long struggle….

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It never really goes away. But at least sometimes – with work and help and luck – you may reach a point where it no longer defines who you are or can be.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Michael says:

          I agree totally, so I hold out hope for her..

          Liked by 1 person

Please, share your words

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s