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Tahlia  McKinnon  
BOY  
 
You  have  no  problem  with  splitting  me  into  pieces.  Your  cold,  clenched  fists  
annihilate  my  features.  If  I’m  a  little  hesitant,  you’re  a  dictating  president  -­‐  your  
orders  like  a  gospel;  you  feed  me  like  a  preacher.  Follow  my  lead;  you’ll  do  as  I  
say.  You’re  smiling  when  you’re  violent.  You’re  twisted  –  both  ways.  You  say  you  
love  me,  sweetly,  and  then  proceed  to  beat  me,  but  I’m  tired  of  keeping  secrets.  
   
I  think  of  you  and  it  haunts  me,  it  taunts  me  still,  after  all  this  time.  They  take  a  
slice  of  the  burden;  try  to  care,  try  to  understand,  try  to  cope  with  me.  They  keep  
a  smile  on  their  face  and  embrace  me  for  who  I  am  –  but  I’m  not  even  sure  that  I  
know  who  that  is.  Not  now.  I’m  a  separate  species,  aimlessly  pondering  along  
with  my  mind  through  interminable  time.  I  suss  and  I  stare  myself  out.  I  break  
down.  Mechanics  rusty,  my  reactions  burn,  and  it  hurts.  
   
It’s  easier  to  talk  to  myself  than  others.  Yes,  they’re  attentive  and  patient,  
engaging  in  conversations  that  they  think  I  want  to  have.  They  try  to  help  me  
trust,  help  me  be  –  make  me  laugh,  set  me  free.  But  you  still  have  a  power  over  
me  that  grips  at  every  action,  stumbles  along  with  every  word,  always  present,  
suffocating  me,  never  letting  me  breathe.  I  oversleep.  I  can’t  eat.  I  lose  myself  in  
idealistic  thoughts  and  lies.  My  dreams  falter  under  the  constant  clouds  behind  
my  eyes.  I  wallow  in  naivety.    Ignorance  is  bliss,  but  soon  your  hands,  they  
shackle  me,  dragging  me  out  of  the  mist.  
   
Yet,  after  all  of  this,  I  think  you  were  the  only  person  who  truly  understood  me.  
You  saw  the  shadows;  you  shared  the  fears.  We  wallowed  in  our  sorrow,  manic  
and  distressed.  You  tamed  me.  You  became  me.  I  lost  myself  whenever  I  was  with  
you.  
I  was  dependent,  possessive,  obsessive,  reckless  and  aggressive.  I  fell  in  so  deep  
that  I  couldn’t  claw  my  way  out,  couldn’t  find  my  way  back.  I  was  drowning.  I  let  
you  in  and  I  lost  my  power,  I  lost  my  grip.  You  need  me,  that’s  what  you  said,  and  
if  you  love  me,  you’ll  keep  me.  
   
You  don’t  seriously  believe  that  it’s  special?  That  it  means  something?  It’s  just  the  
prologue,  the  starting  line,  the  first  hurdle.  You’re  going  to  be  doing  this  shit  for  the  
rest  of  your  life  –  so  what  does  your  first  time  matter?  You’re  just  stupid.  You’re  
stupid  and  you’re  boring  –  and  I’m  tired  and  I’m  horny.  
   
And  they  worked  -­‐  your  cruel,  calculated,  manipulating  words.  I  was  fourteen.  I  
had  convinced  myself  that  I  loved  you  –  that  what  I  felt  for  you  was  love  in  it’s  
purest  form.  Now  I  realise,  I  channelled  such  a  pure,  venomous  hatred  for  you,  
my  innocent,  untouched  soul  didn’t  immediately  recognise  this  love  for  what  it  
was.  Adoration.  Admiration.  Infatuation.  An  overwhelming  bitterness.  An  all-­‐
consuming  agony  that  contorted  every  muscle  and  ached  with  every  touch.  So  
powerful  and  sickening  that  it  could  only  please  me.  It  began  to  tease  me  –  it  
turned  me  against  my  inhibitions,  turned  my  instincts  into  lies.  
   
You  left  me  trapped  at  the  bottom  of  my  own  self-­‐loathing  pit,  all  part  of  your  
sadistic  plans  to  destroy  something  already  on  the  verge  of  self-­‐destruction.  

Tahlia  McKinnon  
Those  extra  miles,  you  watched  me  run  them.  Those  panic  buttons  –  you  made  
me  push  them.  All  of  those  thoughts  you  made  me  dwell  on  and  parades  that  you  
rained  on.  You  created  what  you  always  wanted;  a  vulnerable  mess  that  you  
could  pick  and  choose  to  fix  and  smash  in  a  vicious,  volatile  cycle.  You  tailored  
your  own  insecurities  into  a  dress  of  desperation  that  you  forced  me  to  wear  as  a  
skin.  I  cut  and  I  cried.  I  drank  and  I  died,  because  you  killed  me  from  the  inside.  
   
You  remind  me  of  my  father  –  grinning  or  growling,  smirking  or  sulking,  up  or  
down,  his  happy  medium  another’s  miserable  bastard.  This  world  of  cynicism  and  
disregard  was  destructive  to  angst-­‐ridden  child.  Not  a  bad  man  –  but  a  sad  one,  
and  his  self-­‐inflicted  depression  left  me  cold.  He  acted  like  his  life  had  been  
stolen  from  him,  like  he  hadn’t  smashed  it  all  to  shit  with  his  own  self-­‐pitying  
hands.  Self,  that  word  defines  my  father  –  everything  revolves  around  himself.  My  
mother  says,  as  long  as  he’s  laughing,  he  doesn’t  care  who  cries.  And  it’s  true  –  the  
same  as  you.  
   
Condescending,  you  never  mend  me,  but  force  me  to  fend  for  myself.  I  want  to  
tell  you,  tear  at  you,  kick  at  you,  scream  at  you,  wear  at  you.  Make  you  feel  as  
insignificant  and  dead  to  the  world  as  I  did.  Make  you  feel  as  small,  and  weak,  
and  broken  and  feeble  as  I  was.  
   
I  spent  longer  than  I  should  have  trying  to  stitch  myself  back  together.  I  wasn’t  
stable  to  start  with  but  you  crushed  me  into  fragments.  My  impulse  started  to  
bite  back,  and  I  fought  my  fears  with  the  worst  forms  of  attack.  I  pushed  away  
and  punished;  I  used  and  I  abused.  I  couldn’t  risk  another  person  stabbing  feeling  
into  the  parts  of  myself  I’d  spent  so  long  trying  to  numb.  I  couldn’t  let  them  come  
close,  couldn’t  let  them  care.  I  would  taint  them  when  I  touched  them.  I  would  
snip  and  snap  in  spite.  
I  had  to  retrace  me  steps,  hunting  through  the  dark  of  the  past  to  the  very  start  to  
live  it  all  again.  Live  like  we  never  happened  and  like  I’d  never  met  you.  
   
I  am  here  to  be  left  and  neglected,  refused  and  reduced  to  the  nothing  that  I  am.  I  
am  here  to  be  fucked  up,  fucked  and  fucked  over  –  left  questioning  what  the  hell  
just  happened,  who  the  hell  I  am,  or  where  the  hell  I  go  next.  Maybe  this  is  hell.  
Maybe  I  am  hell.  Maybe  I  am  Satan.  Maybe  I  am  the  Antichrist.  Maybe  I  will  cut  
myself  loose  and  make  the  same  mistakes  twice.  
   
No,  I’m  not  strong.  I’m  quivering;  I’m  withering.  Still  falling  until  I  hit  the  normal  
ground,  the  normal  earth,  the  normal  world.  I  don’t  know  who  I  am,  or  what  I  am,  
or  what  makes  me.  I’m  destined  for  failure.  I’m  existing,  I’m  floating,  but  then  I’m  
sinking  and  I’m  fading.  I  am  useless.  I  am  nothing.  I  will  never  be  good  enough.  
   
But  you  -­‐  you  are  just  a  boy.  And  I  know  that  now.  


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