This is how it happens: your mind wears the role of protector. It has haunted you with all the whys and hows and now this device that is the solution bringer. This one that dissects problems and provides solutions has gone blank. Time goes and does its magic, this doesn’t mean that you forget. No, my love. However, you hold room for the possibility that you’ve moved past it.

Today, you’re in a relationship. His name is Ife, and rightfully so because you are sure that if love came as a human, it’ll come as Ife. This Ife that has buried societal beliefs and standards. This Ife that lives and loves you the way you dreamt of as a little girl, that takes it a step further and loves you in ways you didn’t realize you needed. And so when you talk to him about being robbed so violently, he wraps his arms around you and tells you that he knows. That he has known from the sadness that lives in your eyes, the reluctance in your heart, the withdrawal of your hands. He sees the way you try your best to protect yourself because some part of you thinks that perhaps if you didn’t smile as wide as you did that day, they would not have come on to you.

He let you talk and take breaks but you notice that in talking about it, somehow it seems like it happened to some other person and not you. You call this growth, healing, because you are desperate for an affirmation that this won’t define you. You hold it firmly, you can taste the words on your lips: you’re a survivor. It tastes some sort of way: like redemption. Like water after bitter kola, sweet in an off way. It tastes almost right.

Then Ife touches you. All along you both haven’t gone further than making out but today, you say you’re ready. After all, he has been your safe space, held you as you fell apart, and put you back together. He has been a friend for so long that he’s become a metaphor for anchor and so you’re sure that you couldn’t be more sure.

Just that Ife touches you and it feels like you’re suffocating. He asked you to tell him to stop if you get uncomfortable but you remember the taste of ‘survivor’, of ‘not letting the past define you’ and so you smile and say continue. You will yourself to bear it until he inserts a finger and you hear a scream so loud everything stills. This is when you realize that it is coming from you.

Ife stops and holds you in love. He searches for a therapist and pays for your first session while you’re still in shock. You are not better and it’s okay. You’re getting help and that’s what matters.