That’s what people say. Lots of people here tell me how easy it is to fall out of love. But I’ve never really fallen out of love once I loved someone.
You’d think I’d know. But I’m not so smart when it comes to the big L-U-V. My daddy, before they took him away, he used to hit me before he held me down and sometimes I still wake up and wonder what I did to make him do such a bad thing. I loved him too much, I think. I didn’t know that you’re not supposed to look a certain way around a man, be a certain girl. Otherwise, it’s trouble, capital T, trouble.
I loved my mom, too. She was always drinking and there were always men around after Daddy went away, but every night before she caught me, I’d go in her room at night and watch her sleeping. She’d breathe in and her chest would move up. She’d breathe out and it’d move down. It was so amazing that I could just watch her for hours. I was only eleven or twelve, just a dumb kid. Stupid things like that impressed me.
Then one night she woke up. It was all my fault. It was a hot summer night and we didn’t have air conditioning and she looked so peaceful and beautiful that I just wanted to touch her. I don’t know why. I just did. So I reached out and she woke up and jumped three feet in the air.
“What the fuck?” she screamed. “Faith, what the fuck are you doing in here? What the fuck were you doing? Don’t look at me like that! Why were you in here? I got work in the morning, goddammit, you shouldn’t fucking be in here, and stop looking at me like that, you look like a fucking bag lady hiding in the alley! What the fuck’s wrong with you anyway? Faith! Answer me, goddammit! Faith!”
I had a hundred things I could have said, but I was gulping back tears and I was so afraid that she’d scream at me some more if she knew why I was there. I choked back a sob and tried to smile.
“Nothing, Mom,” I managed to gulp out. “I had a bad dream. I wanted to make sure you were there. That’s all. I didn’t mean to do anything bad.”
She sighed. “Aw, goddammit, come here.”
I didn’t move. “I’m sorry, Mom, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. You just fucking scared me. Go to bed. I’m fine. It was just a dream. Go to bed, Faith. You know I got work in the morning.”
“You’re not crying, are you?” she asked sharply.
“No, Mom, I’m not crying,” I said, trying to blink back tears so she wouldn’t see them. “I’m sorry, Mom.”
“Aw, quit your bitching, Faith. Jesus, just go to bed. It’s not like you tried to kill me or something. You’re acting crazy.”
“I know,” I gulped, shuffling backwards. “I’m going to bed now. Night, Mom.”
She had already settled back under her sheets and grunted something at me. I don’t know. I think it was supposed to be good night.
I went back to bed and stared up at the ceiling all night, letting the tears run down the sides of my face. When I got up, I was dry-eyed. I went outside and played all day, jumping into the creek, throwing rocks at boys. You’d have never known my heart was broken.
I never went into my mom’s room again, not even the night one of her boyfriends got rough and she started making funny screaming noises. When he left, the door was open. I could hear her crying in the living room while I watched talk shows. Once, she even called for me.
I didn’t go in. I couldn’t. I loved her and she hurt me and I loved her still. But I wouldn’t let her hurt me again. It’s like my daddy. You know what I did to my daddy after I found out I had the Gift, the chosen mojo? I went up and found where my daddy was living (because by then, they’d already let him go) and I came wearing the tightest, reddest dress you could imagine. He had a look on his face like he died and found pussy heaven when he saw me.
That was my daddy. He had a big grin on his face and the Pabst Blue Ribbon was sitting on the aluminum card table next to him when I smiled my special smile, the one he taught me. I slid over him like hot butter over a knife and when I was sitting in his lap, he reached up and touched my face.
“I knew you understood.”
“Of course I do,” I said, practically cooing.
That’s when I took my hands and set them around his throat and started pressing. His eyes were already bulging the minute he set eyes on the dress and they just got bigger and rounder. He was making those funny sounds like he used to make when I was real little and it was just him and me, but I didn’t hurt anymore.
He hurt. He tried to push me off, the way I tried, but this time I was stronger and he was hurting. His tongue kept trying to escape and get me but I pushed harder and harder and finally it went limp.
That’s when I knew I was safe forever from that dirty tongue and all the nasty things it did.
I poured the smelly old beer over his head after I was done. Then I threw the tray table at him as hard as I could and cried like I hadn’t since my mom threw me out of her room.
“I’m sorry, Daddy. But you understand.”
He broke my heart and I had to keep it safe from him. You understand, don’t you? I had to do it. It broke my heart but I had to do it. I loved him. I still love him. He was my daddy.
I didn’t like to think about it. I tried not to. Nobody ever asked me where I went that night and nobody ever talked to me when they finally found him dead. He had done bad things. Plenty of folks wanted to kill him. And why would I, a killer by trade, do something so horrible and wrong as to kill my own father?
I didn’t think about it. I forgot it happened.
I’ve had a lot of time to think since I got put in here. Because I’m trying real hard to be good now. It seems like if I want love, I’ve got to be good. I understand that now. I understand why you had to leave me alone to face the world by myself, Buffy. I wasn’t good. I wanted things I shouldn’t have wanted.
I wanted you, but that wasn’t the right thing to want. You were just my friend, you wanted to help me get this demon in my head under control, but I thought you could want me back. That maybe, because we were the chosen two, the only ones who understood how it felt to be a Slayer, we could connect. It was natural for me to take it to the limit.
Abused children often try to find acceptance through sex. They’re looking to restore their self-esteem and self-worth through any approval they can find. It’s a vicious cycle, because casual sex leads to casual rejection and that can bring on a cataclysmic reaction.
Three two-hours sessions a week with a prison psychologist, B. I know more about how you tick than you do.
You broke my heart. Again. I know I deserve it. I wasn’t worthy to cling to your pretty pretty boots, but I loved you. I love you. I just wanted you to love me. I didn’t ever have to touch you. I just wanted a little bit of love and I couldn’t take it. You wouldn’t even give me a fair shake before you dusted me off with the dust on your hands.
Someday, maybe. I still love you. Maybe when I’m a good girl, you can love me. And if you can’t, well, I’ll just make sure I’m safe from you.