I don’t think we ever met. If we did, he was there for my birth. Pulling on the end of my spinal cord. Putting it into place. Dusting the commute in my brain stem. Aggravated by me. ‘Why so young?’ He wants to know. ‘Figure it out.’
I ask him why he wants me to.
He turns like a shadow into the light around it. Going. Going. Not gone.
‘Understand, and maybe you’ll understand.’
I say okay. Because he’s right. I trust him to be right for me, for everything I touch and love and hate and find difficulty in.
I love my father. Not the pronoun for my father, but, he tries to comfort me. He knows that my father is a disaster.
‘Why doesn’t he love you?’ His voice is softer, coarse as a velvet coat.
‘Should he?’ I muse with him.
He wonders too. I want to comfort him, and my father, so I try to extend every bit I’m not, out. It goes. It goes away.
‘Is this love?’ He asks me.
‘Don’t I ask you that?’ I ask him.
He wonders why I’m forgetting myself.
I do too.
‘Well, what you believe I know is right. Somehow. This will be okay. You’ll defeat your doubt. You’ll be free, you WILL get out. I know you. I know that.’
‘Thank you,’ I say to him.
***
His smile is all I feel. It’s like a hand in my stomach, moving around, signing for help. SOS. SOS. Pain. Fuck.
I smile too.
I stare over at him. He’s laughing at me, holding an open flame under my thighs. Inside my chest.
‘Don’t you know what you’re doing? This is unsafe, Ruth.’ He says.
‘I really like it, though.’
‘I know, babe.’ I feel a burn mark bubble my skin, the feeling curdling me all the way up to my face.
His eyes freeze my skin away. Crackling blood. Eye contact I’m not expecting makes Him turn into a garish and grateful muzzle, and my eyes swish away.
‘Thanks,’ I mumble from behind his hand, his fingers fine on my lips.
‘No problem,’ He whispers into my ear, which is still a little burnt and frozen.
We need to move. We move as one. He grips my legs, and I comply. A vicious dance routine that makes my shaking seem part of my practiced walk and talk. 
‘Where what who why where what who why?!’ He blares the chant in my ears until I’m begging him to calm down. My heart rate and business about my body stay the same. Erratic. Expected.
‘STOP!’ I scream, and smile and make a friendly comment to Sarah as I pass her by. He slits my throat with a dull blade. I catch the blood by cupping around the incision with my hand.
‘PLEASE,’ I try, and my voice is gone. The coughing doesn’t help, and blood splattering the saddle as I heft it into my arms, off the rack. He’s still adhered to my back his twisted, his gibberish convincing me to sweat.
‘You’re still a child, you’re still a child,’ he says, his voice garbled but flagrantly loud.
‘No, I’m not.’
Simon pins his ears as I settle the saddle into the correct position. I apologize to him. 
No, not my horse. Don’t hurt him.
He steals my hands, and touches Simon for me. I lose my feeling, I can’t see or hear properly. It’s not where I am. He’s too in love with his control to notice.
We’ll always have each other.
You, I corrected. I’ll always have you.

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