The bed was lumpy, the sheets littered with ashes. Not so comforting words of itwillbeokay emanated from his mouth as he licked my wounds.

"Baby, I'm sorry.. I swear."

I lay still, curled in my favorite position in his belly, pretending not to feel a thing. I no longer fought the roaming hands or the seeking smile
The familiar smell of his sweatshirt graced my nostrils with each inhalation. It was pleasant and warm, like jasmine or vanilla. It was what made my existence okay. The sweet aroma made me want to believe the discarded promises and his gentle untruthfulness. Believe that it was all in the family. 'The best part of believe is the lieā€¦'

But the hours spent alone, fearing and anticipating the moment he would come, the press of his mouth that was both demanding and forgiving, the bruises that faded overnight, only to return again the morning, the cruel fingers in my hair, I believed them too. The little girl still lay bleeding on the bed, like sparrow broken on the curb. But the scent was so intoxicating, and it kept me there night after night, like I was afraid to be without it. You loved me on your own hard way, and I loved you in mine.