**Just thought I would note that this post does deal with the effects of domestic violence… Proceed with caution please!
Sitting here on this examination table, waiting to see what the cause of the pain is and my bones are on display against this lit up board. The doc tells me I have some interesting defects. He points to the slide of my right arm. There’s some dark spots there. See that dark line there? That’s where your arm was fractured at some point but I can tell by the way it’s set itself that you never had it corrected. My eyes veer down to my bare toes and I make a game out of seeing how hard I can squeeze my left big toe with my right one and the toe next to it. I think back on the time he picked me up in the kitchen by my hair and threw me down into the bedroom, onto the thinly carpeted, concrete floor. I remember the pain that radiated throughout my arm and how that arm was useless for months afterwards. I basically became a lefty for that time period. And here, on your chest. There’s a small spot where it looks as though your breastbone suffered some trauma at some point. He waits quietly for an explanation, but I have none to give. I tune him out and hum as quietly as I can, a defensive coping mechanism I’ve learned over the years to block out the unpleasantness. It was a punch to the chest, of course. Or maybe it was the kick. And it looks like at least one of the fingers on your right hand, your ring finger, possibly your middle finger, were fractured at some point. I don’t even remember why that injury happened, only that at the time I thought that my fingers were going to be ripped off. He flips through some papers on his clipboard and I catch the words “internal injuries” and I wonder what he found inside of me. Can he tell how when winter hits my arm will be constantly throbbing as a result of the old fracture? Can he tell that all of the pain in my chest from all of the punches and kicks were nothing compared to the pain of the broken heart I lived with for so long? Can he see my shattered self-confidence after years of being told I am nothing, will never be anything? Can he see my self-loathing after having been told time after time that I am worthless, unlovable, unintelligent, lazy? And what about the anxiety I have over being in public while attempting to do the most normal things a wife and mother should be able to do- paying bills, grocery shopping, working, picking the children up from school? Can he see these things as well? Can he see the nightmares that jolt me awake in bed at two in the morning, sweating, my heart feeling as though it’s about to explode from my chest, the terror at the feeling of those hazel eyes from my past on me in the darkness? Can he see the urges I get to run and hide behind my writing when it all becomes too much? The way he looks at me while he fiddles with his clipboard almost makes me think he does even though those slides show nothing except what is there just beneath the surface.