For once, everything looked perfect. He’d found a girl who seemed to love him, at least for now. He held down a good job, they’d moved into a nice loft apartment downtown. Nights were filled with laughter, dinner parties, passion. Weekends brought exploring this nice city and it’s spectacular surrounds. Everything, it seemed, was perfect.
They sat on opposite ends of their couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, legs intertwined in each other. She flicked through some first edition they’d found at an eccentric second hand bookshop while he plucked a few notes on his acoustic. Perfect.
Despite it all, the demons raged inside his head. He could usually keep their screams down to white noise. Sometimes though, they crept out. Their large nails scraped the inside of his eardrums, their wicked eyes bore holes in his skull. He’d learned how to keep composure. To keep it all pushed down. That stiff upper lip drilled into him during all those childhood years at boarding school. ‘Keep your fucking head up!’ the older boys would yell as they pissed on the new kids. The torturous morning runs through the rugged, frozen countryside. The shit served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The happy faces they had to pull when Pa and Ma came to visit, the lies they told how happy they were in this God-forgotten place made for children who were an inconvenience at best for their parents.
He’d learned how to push it down. To get along, to get along. He’d learned to run with the herd, not rock the boat, to fake it until the skin on his knuckles were blood. He learned to take the unspeakable acts from the Brothers, the wicked ways of the priests.
For the first time perhaps, he thought he could tell her what happened. Not just that he went to boarding school and the funny games they’d play, but the truth. The things done to him. The things he did – to himself, to the other boys. The shame he bore, the anger, the façade he built to keep those demons from peeking out from his smiling eyes. Perhaps he could tell her. Maybe, just maybe, he’d found someone who might share this burden. Where he could release the floodgates just a little.
He sipped his whiskey and admired the beauty sitting alongside him, just flipping through the yellowed pages of the first edition. Maybe he could. Maybe he should.
“What are you thinking about?” she smiled, cuddling up to him.
“Not much my darling. Not much”…