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The Effect of Kissing
The effect of a kiss can be magical. But your kiss was devastating.
The night was cool and humid, just the whisper of a breeze around us. The perfume of the flowers in the park was heavy in the air. If I look back and remember that scene, I remember how you were bathed silver in the moonlight, and how I thought you were more handsome than the moon that shone in the sky.
Up until that point in time, you had me wrapped around your finger. I worshiped you, and you destroyed me. You used me and hurt me, yet I never had enough sense to call it to an end. The ending was a formidable place. It was a place of unfamiliar hurt. At least when you talked bad about me, when you showed me off to your pervert friends, and when you threatened me with the thought of no love between us, I was familiar with the hurt it brought.
Our relationship, before that night, was composed of soft touches and simple words. In our eyes hid two things: for me, it was unadorned devotion. For you, it was simple possession. We were the perfect couple, one dominant and one dormant, never questioning the others position. We never touched for long. You would hold my hand, and occasionally wrap your arms around me in what I thought was a loving way. For you it was all possession and power. You proved to me that you made the decisions in our relationship, everything from the simple caresses to the places we went. By denying me, for months and months, of a simple kiss, you proved that I would do anything for you.
That night was the night everything changed for me. After months of striving for attention from you, you finally granted it, and I was hooked.
We stopped by the shallow pond, and you pointed out how the water looked like silver mercury. I said it was beautiful. And you, the you that never called me beautiful even once, looked at me and said I was beautiful. I was speechless, then you kissed me, and I was breathless.
The kiss was simple. Two pairs of lips connected, you leaning down and I standing still, and when they connected I felt fire. The type of fire that seemed to always surround us was now concentrated within the confines of our lips, white hot and so intoxicating I couldn’t breathe. Even when we parted, with the look of satisfaction and power on your face, I couldn’t breathe for long after that.
I didn’t breathe for two years after that.
After that night, I was constantly craving another kiss. I only got one, though, and I always wanted more, like a child always craves candy after their first one. It was just another display of power on your part that you refused me a kiss, as if the first never happened.
Only months after our first kiss did you decide to kiss me again. The moment was much more intimate. I was that much more intoxicated. It was at the apple farm, where your grandfather worked, sunny and warm with the promise of crunchy autumn leaves under our feet. We kissed for exactly three minutes and twenty-three seconds under a red-delicious apple tree. Your lips tasted like apples, I noticed, and when we surfaced I told you apples were my favorite fruit. Today, I refuse to eat one.
Our third kiss was simply to show to your friends that we were really in love. They had never seen us kiss, and I didn’t blame them, because we barely even touched. But with our fourth kiss came the intimacy of a relationship, and this was eight months into it. Every kiss I received, every moment spent with you, I craved more, desired more, wanted, more than ever, to be your one and only. I thought you were the one. Somewhere, in the dark recess of my heart, I knew that you did not respect me or love me. Whatever reason you stayed with me was reason enough for me.
With the intimacy came the arguments. It was never me who started them, but it was always me who apologized in the end. I was so afraid of losing you. When you were angry from work, or drunk with your friends, you would yell and writhe in anger. It never made me afraid of you, only of losing you to whatever held you in that moment. You did not become hard and mean with anger, only vulnerable and sad. I felt sorry for you. It was the only time I ever saw you become weak. You would grab me and shake me, leaving black and blue bruises on my slender arms, and I would say sorry over and over again. You knew how weak you became in that moment. Maybe it was seeing the weakness in me that made you recover so quickly.
I lost all contact with my friends. They called me and called me, and there came a point where the constant bussing of my phone became too much for you. You smashed it on the concrete pavement one day, and I did not retaliate. I walked into the cool air-conditioned store with you, and when we came out again the plastic from the phone was melted on the sidewalk. All but one friend left me for an idiot. Rachel, you stayed with me until the very end, and I’m forever grateful for the home and solace you now provide me, and eternally in debt for the man you saved me from.
The end of the year came, and with it came a new me. I left the fumbling apartment complex we shared, and for once in a long time I allowed myself to roam the outside world. I roamed the dark alley ways behind the mall, the bars where the bad crowds hung out, and every horrible filth-infested place possible. None of it made me forget the pain of where I lived. I started drinking and doing drugs, trying to avoid the harsh reality you were, but you found new ways to make me suffer, denying me of alcohol or cocaine in the moments I needed it most. You controlled absolutely everything in my life, and I had neither the energy nor a want to fight back.
The first time I finally fought back was the day I figured out you had been cheating on me. She was a blonde, not as pretty as me, but she was strong and I was not. I lashed out at you because I was now sure you were leaving me. I was weak. My cheeks were hollow with self-abuse, my once flowing ebony hair dull and chopped carelessly, my blue eyes full of permanent sadness. I was weaker than ever, and that night I decided to leave, that night you decided you didn’t want me to, was the night I broke completely.
“You don’t deserve me, I said, my voice low and hoarse from tears. “You never deserved me.”
You smiled down at me, you teeth white and glittering and so completely mocking, as if you had been waiting for the day I would finally become strong enough to lash out. “I don’t deserve you,? I stayed with you for two years because I pitied you. You don’t deserve me. You never will.”
I was heartbroken with his words. My eyes widened. My heart ached. My voice softened. “You stayed with me all these years out of pity?”
Your smile, right then, was all it took for me to break. “Always.”
My knees buckled under the weight of that smile, my body crashed down to the hard floor, and my mouth opened in a deep, wailing cry. I cried so hard, for so long, with your angry words going unnoticed, that you kicked me. For once you didn’t just abuse me with your words. You kicked me until my ribs broke, and to this day I can still feel the bruise.
You took me to the hospital and left me for dead. I wasn’t dead, though. Just broken in so many ways. And as I lay there, the taste of disinfectant in my mouth, the whiteness of hospital lights in my eyes, I realized I might have been broken. But inside I was stronger than ever.
Lana, you came and sat by my bedside. You cried when I cried, and when I spoke to you for the first time in two years, my voice was clear and strong.
“Where was I?”
You kissed my forehead and hugged my broken body. “You’re here now, Eve. It doesn’t matter.” Your beautiful green eyes were so sad, yet they promised a new beginning for me. “All you have to do is start over.”
And I did. Starting with forgetting him.