He looks at me with those great big monster eyes of his, grinning and baring those great big monster teeth of his. I sit on the edge of the bed and prepare to surrender myself to whatever hell storm is descending on me right now. Flat on my back, legs spread open. I close my eyes and allow myself to be consumed by a monster whose name I dare not utter.

This is no coincidence. Is it. Is it? I had been rolling around in my bed crying all week, locked beneath those sheets, stultified by the things that I could not control, paralyzed by things that continued to happen to me despite my best efforts. I had been clawing my way from day to day, ashen with catastrophe, when the phone rang. He called me. He told me, “I’m coming back,” and I could feel the glee trickling back into my hands and feet. He’s coming back. He’s coming back!

Now that he’s here, all I can think about what is gone. What I lost. Is he just another replacement for something that people would say was different but truly is just the same? A man, with his hand around my throat, ruining my dreams. But this is my dream, isn’t it? To be here with him. To be consumed whole by him. To be controlled by him. I wouldn’t know what to do without him. Which is why I didn’t get out of bed until he knocked on my door and made me get immediately back into bed. With him.

During the calm in betweens, we do not talk about why we are here and what we are doing. I dare not ask how long before he leaves, how long before I’ll have to pick up the pieces and put myself back together. All we have is right now, and he is the world champion of filling up the hole in my heart. I can’t think about what will happen when he is gone, or how destroyed I will be. All I can think about is all the ways that he is hurting me right now, and how much I wish I could run away, but I won’t, because I can’t, because girls like me don’t run away. Girls like me stay and beg for more, even if it kills me.

He would kill me if he could, and I would let him, and I think that’s part of why he loves me. Or, he calls it love. I don’t know what the rest of the world would call it – I don’t want the rest of the world to see what happens when we’re in a room together. I’m afraid that the rest of the world would call us crazy, that they would rip us apart, that they would take him away from me because he’s slowly killing me. But to be without him is its own type of death, and if I am the master of my own fate, and if I can choose how to die, I would die here, with him.

There are no other men. There is only him. I do what he tells me to do. I am who he tells me to be.

And now that he’s gone, I am free in a way that I have never wanted to be free. I sit in my cage with the lock chopped off, and I refuse to leave. I want to be here forever, where it is warm with my memory of him, even without him, because the woman I am when I leave this cage is not a woman at all. I am a monster. Just like him. I am the monster that he made in his own image, and I am slithering out with my tongue between your legs, asking you – no, telling you, “Come join me in my prison.”

When he is gone, I am the terror that he has left for the world to endure.

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