Withering eyes catch you as you fall
A bitter sigh, no one moves at all
Let me in for one more long disgrace
Just forget the same distractions you refuse to face
We both know that it's gone
But what if no one knows
No one knows to remember why it's wrong
This is all the pain a man can take
This is how a broken heart still breaks
I don't need much to show youLast night I bumped my nose against the shoulder of the Devil as he took us far out of reach of redemption on purpose, his arms a vise holding me to him. This morning my lips are still numb, my head and limbs hurt vaguely and in my fist is a cheque signed in his fountain-pen flourish.
Only enough to control you
Bury your head inside this
And gather the darkness that binds it
I think I'll die if you deny me
Swallowed alive in eternity
Give me a way to be the agony
I knew you all along
I made my way down to the beach just before dawn to see if I could reach redemption on my own. The sun came up and drew a harsh line on the rocks. A challenge. Warm me, I thought. No, she said, there's nothing left of you for me to bother with.
I bent down at the water's edge, soaking the hem of my dress, pulling back my sleeves to show the sun how swollen my wrists are because I won't show anyone else. I gingerly floated the cheque in the sea, then I pressed it down until I was up to my elbows in the icy Pacific, my hem drinking up the heavy water, trying to hold enough of me to pull me in, pull me under. Seems I fight that wherever I go.
The ink runs across the paper, obscuring the secrets he bought from me, whatever ridiculous amount I asked for easily met, without hesitation. That's how I know he's the Devil. It doesn't matter how much it costs, he can pay for it.
I watched the zeros blur and vanish, the paper turning transparent in the saltwater. I picked it up, balled it up in my fist and threw it as hard as I could. It didn't go very far.
I don't either.
I sat down hard on the rocks and smiled at how awful I am. How far I can go before someone reels me back in. How I can climb down here to rock-bottom with such little help, starting over every day.
If you persist in destroying every document I give you just say so and I will switch to deposit.
His voice doesn't startle me or make me turn around.
I don't need your money.
It's part of our agreement.
You're not listening.
Bridget, correct me if I'm mistaken. I'm fulfilling my end of the agreement, what about you?
I fulfill my end.
But you ruined the cheque?
I'm not a whore (I didn't say it out loud, I only whispered it into the bubbles at the edge of the water). I don't come to you for your money.
Bridget, I can't hear you.
I turn my head and look at him. God. So handsome and I fucked him up too. Or he fucked me up. I don't know who even started it anymore. Oh right, he did. By default. Couldn't just keep his shit together and leave me alone in the first place.
I said I'm not a whore.
No one says you are.
I raise my hand up to point up the hill. You..you just...gave me..
He looks up at the boathouse jutting out over the edge of the cliff and he looks back at me. Bridget, I thought you would appreciate an immediate, tangible reward but it seems to trigger a deep regret. I didn't mean for that to happen. If it's easier I will just deal with the financial aspect of this invisibly.
I nod. My teeth are chattering. My reward is not what he thinks it is. I'm not who I think I am.
It's time for you to go get warm. Have you been home yet?
I shake my head. No, I haven't. I wasn't going to walk through that door, my new bottom line weighing me down like a stone, a guilty, heavy, unchangeable stone. But I should go home now. I need to peel off this skin and try and grow something thicker.