Black and Blue


“Lila, that means he likes you!” 
Those were the words 
Spoken to me by my mother after I told her 
A boy pulled my hair in the playground. 
Why wasn’t she angry? I wondered. 
Why did her perturbed expression 
Soften when I told her the reason 
There were tears streaming down my face? 
Salty wetness sprung from my eyes, 
Coating  my trembling lips as she consorted 
With the boy’s parents, laughing. 

It was my eighteenth birthday. 
The last guest had finally left and we were alone again. It started with a tiny argument, over something miniscule that
I remembered to forget. 
It was only a match of words until his hand rose and 
Struck me for the first time. 
I stumbled away from him, tripping over myself, 
Hands gripping my stinging  face. 
He didn’t listen when I begged him 
To leave me alone, when the furniture behind us 
Became dominoes from my stuttering steps. 
And the worst part is, when he enveloped me in his arms, grasping me tight to his chest, 
Instead of “sorry”, 
He said, “I love you”. 

Our third wedding anniversary ended in another fight. 
I brought a hand to my cheek and pain sprung before 
My eyes as he struck me again. 
Boring of my now mulberry-toned complexion, 
The attack on my abdomen began. 
But I took it. Because everything he did was out of love. Because it was my fault, all my fault, and I knew he loved me. But still, I dreaded my inevitable falter of words when I met my friends at brunch the next morning, when they asked why I was black and blue again. Concern was etched on their faces when I assured them 
he still loved me. 

He brought a hand to the mahogany wood
In which I lay, tears of guilt streaming down his reddened face, scabbed knuckles staring at the guests who refused 
To listen. Inside my bed of lies, I lay 
Beaten and battered, scarlet handprints
Scattered all over my broken neck, masked not even by the concealer clumped carelessly onto my limp body. But it was the first time he had brought me flowers in years, my favorite white lilies. 
If only they weren’t for my funeral.

Alexandra Dylan Loh Shuen Li (Class of 2022)  was from the second batch of  Literary Arts, and is currently studying Film. She found flash fiction and screenwriting to be her strongest, but indulges in prose poetry to express her ideas in a more poetic and elegant way.