Most of you are familiar with this story. The beginning, so to speak. It is what caused the initial coping of fracturing, of splitting. It wasn’t until much later that the coping technique was used to it’s maximum…
Trigger warning (pretty obvious from the title)
It was always about the words. The sentences. The phrases. That charismatic speech. The way they curled about and slithered into the deep recesses of Pen’s mind.
The saying may be that a picture is worth a thousand words; but Pen was always fascinated by a good story.
This story started out simple enough…
Once upon a time there was another child of divorce- Katherine. Another girl who struggled to form normal relationships with people. A girl who was not repulsed by the idea of Pen being more than just Pen.
Pen did momentarily hesitate due to the gender. She had never considered a relationship with another female. Not for any particular reason, it simply hadn’t occurred to her.
Katherine spun the story’s web of beauty tighter. A complicated pattern to entice and confuse.
A woman would never hurt another woman. She knows how men can be too brass, too rough. They can trigger Pen. They only want to brand Pen.
She tells these lies, even as she hides her own branding iron behind her back. Pen never even tries to look.
The first time is so very tentative, unsure. Pen is concerned she’s doing everything wrong. Katherine seems enthralled by the innocence. Pen doesn’t notice, too focused on trying to please.
Katherine is quick to demand more of Pen’s time. It seems so easy at first. Pen has so few friends anyway. But soon the few friends she does have are noticing. And commenting. Pen brushes them off. They just don’t understand true happiness.
It doesn’t take long for Katherine to turn rougher. Pen is startled at first, but Katherine uses those charismatic phrases to sweeten the deal. And of course, it is nothing but ecstasy for Charlotte.
The story changes quickly. Soon Pen is the caged songbird. The collared fox. She was okay with being tamed, but this seems like much more.
The marks are hard to hide. She has to purchase special makeup that is technically for concealing tattoos. Katherine says the marks are better than tattoos. The burns last for months. She says she is working on “proper branding”. Soon Pen will truly belong only to Katherine.
There is jewelry as well. Necklaces and rings so that a person they encounter out in public may be quickly made aware that Pen is not available.
The waiter grins as he hands Pen a refill on her Coke. Pen gives him a hesitant smile. It takes mere seconds before she feels the harsh pain of Katherine squeezing her hand and digging her nails into the soft flesh. She hisses a warning. Even a polite smile means fraternizing to Katherine, especially when it involves males. Pen doesn’t register the abnormality of this. She merely aligns her face to “completely disinterested” when around men. Midori helps.
Pen delves into books regarding domestic abuse and sees little correlation. And yet, she feels this sense of camaraderie with the victims that she cannot explain. It puzzles her.
The sex is so extreme now that Pen’s migraines have become frequent and debilitating It does not occur to her that perhaps her body has realized how repulsed Katherine is by an upset stomach and has devised a way to try and snag some time to heal from the bites, burns, scratches, and welts. The doctors are at loss on how to treat the migraines, since they do not respond to standard medication. Katherine becomes frustrated that treatment is not happening easily.
It is surprising how it comes to a roaring halt. Or perhaps it is not. The relationship started out with a sweet lie. It seems only fitting it should end with a harsh true.
Another woman? It makes no sense to Pen. Pen has thrown her whole self into their relationship. Katherine claims to have done the same. But obviously this is not true. She so easily finds another and leaves Pen a torn and incomplete canvas. Left to rot in a forgotten room.
Despite the words that started this story, it is the picture left behind that does the damage.
It takes years and multiple partners to relearn how relationships are supposed to work.
The most recent partner has taught the best lessons:
-Independence is allowed. And is healthy.
-It’s okay to cry or yell if something has truly upset Pen. She doesn’t have to pretend everything is fine.
-Teeth are not acceptable below the belt. For either party.
-It’s all right to smile at another person in a friendly manner. That actually does not equal flirting.
-Pen does not have to have sex on her period. If fact, Pen can actually decide at any point whether she actually wishes to have sex or not.
-She can eat what she likes without judgment.
-The scars she has are part of her past, not part of her.
-Slow and soft cuddling is sometimes the best way to spend time together
–She is beautiful