Bruises fade, even broken bones heal, but that moment when your lover looks right past you and pretends he didn't hear you say no, that moment stays with you.
There were excuses, so familiar they hardly need repeating, he was drunk, that skirt was too short. Familiar, tired excuses, almost comforting, easier to believe that there's something you could have done, or not done, less gut-wrenching than the slowly dawning realisation that in a moment that should have been intimate, you became, in his mind, an unperson, less than human, a mere beast who's cries of protest could be guiltlessly ignored. Easier, not healthier.
Life hardly changed at first, except for the silences, after a joke that would once have been funny, before sex when he would once have whispered 'I love you'. He must have known it wasn't true, not that it stopped him, a line once crossed becomes blurred, scuffed out, easier to believe it isn't there at all. Easier, not healthier.
Time passed, there were more silences, and as if in compensation, arguments. More than arguments, fights, it isn't a mere argument if you end up in the emergency room. If he's stronger than you, if he's angrier than you, it's you that ends up needing stitches, even when some of that anger is at himself and what he's become. You feel guilt for your own anger, because you can't apologise enough to take his guilt away, and you become angry because it's harder to forgive. Harder, still not healthier.
When you become an unperson, your life fades away, a drip at a time, piece by piece, but if you're lucky enough, brave enough there comes a day when you look deep into the oblivion inside and find a way to face it without fear. Today is that day, all his things are piled in the hall, stacks of books and cases of clothes, posters, music, old toys and ornaments. On top of the pile is a note, it simply says 'Leave', this time the message will get through.