The Bank of the Boyfriend

Prompt: A Mouse in a Cupboard

Genre: Memoir

The world is a wide open field, open to possibilities, the sky is the limit, or so they say. Creativity can be found in even the smallest blade of grass, if you consider it from the right perspective.

I was still in the process of recovering from a major loss, but finally to the point of wanting to move forward again. Regardless of what happens to you, the world keeps spinning, so you learn to keep putting one foot in front of the other, cruise-controlling through life on autopilot.

Without knowing which direction to go, a friend suggested online dating. A few duds into the digital matchmaking, one glimmer caught my eye, or rather, I suppose I caught his but I digress. One conversation led to another, and then one date into another, and we became an official couple. Boy! That was an odd feeling after so many years off the market!

Everything seemed perfect at first, not a carbon copy of the past, but a new kind of perfect. Things were exciting and interesting. I felt like I could fly! Then, a month or so into the relationship, I tripped over the other shoe. I figured I was just clumsy, that this was normal, nothing unusual, so I picked myself back up and kept trudging along. I couldn’t help but to feel apprehensive from then on though.

As each day rolled into the next, his hold over me grew, but surely that was just a sign of his love for me right? Any problems with his dominance were simply my shortcomings. He was so patient with me that I had to appreciate him, dote on him, understand how perfect he was.

Over the weeks I shrank along with the walls that were closing in on me, the jaws of predatory life cutting me off from all that I knew and understood. Slowly, I began to shut down, surgically removing bits of what made me individual, turning over one parcel at a time as if repossessed by the Bank of the Boyfriend. With each loss, I found myself backing closer to the dark bog at the back of the property, where the dilapidated shack I abandoned years ago rotted away. It beckoned to me, a twisted beacon of safety that he pushed me towards.

By three months in, I was no bigger than a field mouse. No longer was I in awe of the wide open fields before me, but terrified of being out in the open. Finally, I slipped through a slight crack in an outer wall of that shack and found a cobweb shrouded cupboard to tuck myself into. The darkness gave some semblance of comfort, a cloak of safety in which to bury my insecurities and shame.

Eventually, a drop of determination, a mere grain of clarity, propelled me out of hiding to face this monster I had submitted to for too long. Now, years later, I look back at that field and realize that the soil has recovered from the salt I permitted him to sow.

Writing prompt pulled from Love In Ink’s “A Year of Creative Writing Prompts.”


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