Stockholm (Short Story)

I sat in a chair staring at nothing, footsteps heard above resonating in the sterile white room. “I hate him.” I whispered to the silence, and as soon as those words left my lips, she spoke. Smirk on her lips as she leaned in close, breath hitting my ear, “No you don’t,” her voice filled with glee and condescending.

She was right and wrong. I hate him for his sweet honeyed words, for his cruelty, for his bitter slaps, but most of all I hate him for his kindness, for his loving touch and sweet embrace. For any kindness from him, any lingering touch fuels the love I carry for him.

I am a captive here both mentally and physically, both from fear and love. For I hate him just as much as I love him. “You don’t hate him as deeply as you think you do,” she whispered, grin widening for all teeth to be seen. “Why, what would you do without him? Where would you be?” She seemed to feed on the pain she got from breaking down every lie that was told to numb the pain. She seemed to need it, need it to survive this place like me. But instead of me she coped by tearing down my sweet lies.

And she was always right, my constant companion her, bitter and spiteful from her stay, but at least she never lies. But somehow I can’t feel happy about her, being the only one that does not lie or hide behind a honeyed façade. I need those honey lies filled with poisons to kill the truth.

It had been many years that I lived like this, with only him, with his cruel loving touch and harsh blows, and her, with her spiteful words and poisoned truths. My only salvation my dreams. Years here have dulled them but one came back with vengeance this day. The dream of my father. Father, he loved me so, foreboding as he was.

“I want to escape,” I whispered to the room (I didn’t ask if she wanted to come because she couldn’t. She had to stay here. I wouldn’t let her come). She stirred rustling the bed sheets as she leaned in close to my ear. “You don’t want to escape, you need him, you love him.” She spits out her poisoned words with her serpent tongue, angry with me. But then I said the words that finally stopped her in her tracks, silencing her. “But he does not love me.” She had no words for this was the truth. His sweet words, his loving touch, all a trap to ensnare and weaken.

But after four long years I have something to leave for. I finally remembered real love, not the kind he tried to imitate. So as he left the house I opened the door. He never locked it (why should he when I loved him so much and he knew it.) and went to the phone.

My hopes paid off as the number had not changed. He sounded the same, maybe more strained (my fault I’m sure). “Help daddy,” I got out, voice ruff. And then there was silence. The next hours scrambled together with police and my father talking. Mostly on their part as I said little.

As I was leaving her voice screeched at me “you can’t leave me here!” She raged at me as I faced the door to the outside world, the world without him. “You need him!”

I drew in a deep breath and turned around to face her, to face me. She was me, my love, my hate, my pain; she was everything that was to do with him. “I don’t need him,” I whispered out before turning my back to her, to me and left. And even though I had lied and we both knew it, she was silent.

I loved him. I shouldn’t, but I did. We both knew this but now I had people who loved me when he was just a snake trying to pretend to be a mouse hissing honeyed words to entice his prey. Let this be the day that the mouse got away.

Anastasia Curtis

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