Prologue: Cause and Infection
The morning after what could only be described as a mental disintegration, I found myself hungover from a night of weeping and squinting at an unusual email on my computer.
[ Application Accepted | Gold’s School of Dance ]
I had hoped it was a bad dream. But, alas, in the harsh light of day, the hemorrhaging of my life was as vivid as ever.
It wasn’t as though I disagreed with Alexander’s assessment. Although he had turned every part of my personality into a weapon to dismantle my soul, his summarization was accurate. What took my breath away was the lack of effort it took for him to outline the core of my being, then describe with methodical precision every way it repulsed him.
If I had truly been ‘vulgar with [my] affection,’ as he called it, he might have succeeded in pulverizing my entire self-esteem. The only saving grace was that I had been standing on my front porch when he had said this. He had tracked me down.
Even worse, it was not a surprise. Although Alexander’s hammering on my door at three o’clock in the morning was unexpected, he had never attempted to mask the depth of his disdain for the feelings I feverishly tried to hide.
Unlike when I was seventeen and living at home, it was much easier now, ten years later, to maintain the distance he required from me. In a few seconds of foolish bravery, I had ruined everything. That was all it took for my brother’s best friend to go from a distant acknowledgement of my existence to an unquenchable desire to extinguish it.
To him, deigning to imagine that my affection would be received as anything but an insult was a cardinal sin. It was a notion that my brother, Zachary, had been all too happy to encourage. With seven years between us, I would always be the little sister he never wanted.
For a decade, I had gone to great lengths to appease Alexander’s anger. But, alas, I was only left with the asphyxiating realization that it was a wound infected far beyond the healing hands of time.
Now, all of these years later, nothing had changed- not even me. At least, that’s what Alexander alleged in his outburst of wrath and fury, right before a police car pulled into the cul-de-sac.
He had continued shouting in my face until the moment the officers were upon him, only then taking notice of the flashing lights of the police car illuminating the sleepy street.
Belligerent and refusing to quiet down, they hauled him into the police car for a night in the drunk tank. No amount of begging or reassuring of not pressing charges on my part would soften their resolve.
As they left, anxiety gripped my insides. Even now, in the warmth of morning light, the frost lingered with whispers of a foreboding truth.
I will be blamed for this.
How was it possible that I, now a grown woman, could feel as frail and vulnerable as a child?
Maybe, Alexander was right. I hadn’t changed.
But, maybe, just maybe, I could try.