• Ilan Cooley

the killing blow

Updated: May 22

"The first strike stings. Your look implies subtle satisfaction. I am shocked and say nothing. What is there to say? I don’t fight, so you continue. You are fueled by my stunned reaction. You take it as weakness, so you go in for more. This is not your first bout. You are a prizefighter, and I am the mat."


The first strike stings.


Your look implies subtle satisfaction. I am shocked and say nothing. What is there to say? I don’t fight, so you continue. You are fueled by my stunned reaction. You take it as weakness, so you go in for more. This is not your first bout. You are a prizefighter, and I am the mat. You hit me again and again and again, each time with more intensity. Each time, you seem to revel in it. Deep inside I know I am a warrior. The next time I fight back, but it does not deter you. If I cower, you fight harder. If I fight, you fight harder. You are relentless. You will win at all costs.


I am hurt. You tell me you love me. This is not love. I back away and still you surge at me with the will to deliver more. Blow by blow, you hit me, with no sign of stopping.


You will leave me bruised and battered. Bloodied and battle worn. You will offer no apologies. You will do whatever you please; the apple off a rotten tree. This is what you are and the haze of your fury blackens your perceptions and fills your senses with power, so you go on to fight another day.

You did no wrong. You caused no harm. You didn’t even touch me. You can say they are only words and that they don’t matter. You say words can’t really hurt me, but they do. You can say I should’ve known better; that I could have walked away, that it is my fault, but that is not true.


Go ahead and hit me. Betray me with your words. Say you love me, then squeeze every ounce of goodness from the world and spit in the face of my good nature. You can take everything from me if you want to, and pretend it doesn’t matter. But it does.


Hurl your words and insult me. Belittle me and erase every bit of joy from our home. Strip me bare. Take everything. It is all yours. You have won the battle and the war.


Leave here with that belt around your waist. Hear the roar of the crowd chanting your name. Feel the vindication as your wrecking ball levels our life. Stand victorious over ground zero knowing you are a napalm bomb. You are a force to be reckoned with. Leave here knowing you are the man. Just leave.


But you will leave here without me.

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