It’s raining outside.
He stares out the window counting each drop. The splash? It’s how he marks the passage of time.
In his head the ghosts are arguing again. Shouting matches over which image to display prominently, proudly, across his mind’s eye.
It doesn’t matter. To him, every image hurts. A brutal display of violence that to this day he still works through.
He confesses he feels like a failure. It’s been twelve years. He should be over this.
The psychologist scribbles frantically along the lines of a legal pad the color of daisies. She says to him,
It’s been a lot of years, but longer still has been the journey that brought you here; to this moment. And it will take a lot of years to untie the cables between you and a foundation full of landmines.
Bravely breaking generational cycles of violence. You don swords and armor, charge headlong into hordes of demons, rebuking ghosts, and wage a war on the lies instilled in you. All for the sake of your wife and three beautiful girls.
It has been a lot of years. And though you may never fully recover – whatever the fuck that means – your family will never know the pain you endured.
They’ll never come to me and ask why. Why was he so cruel? Or, why – why couldn’t he love me?
From you they will only know love – and they will carry that love to their children’s children’s children.
And it takes everything in me not to say,
Stop being so impossible with yourself.
So instead I offer this.
Be kind. Be gentle. And love yourself.
I know it’s hard,
But you are not alone.