Not as his prisoner, but as his girlfriend.
I never thought I can put myself in that situation. Nor did I think I can live in a room with no windows. The kitchen always had cockroaches visiting the fridge and the oven. I was disgusted but stuck.
How come someone smart and thoughtful like me became this vegetable, so fast? I knew the guy for one week and he got me. All I wanted was to have a one-night stand. And it lead to spending two nights together, him not wanting me to leave. I have tried to leave a few times, but I didn’t. Seeing him being proud to be with me touched me in a way I still don’t understand. My battles from the past creeped out in the present and clouded my judgement.
And when I left, I was still confused. I was talking about exploring the world, he was talking about me becoming his world. I should have known, I should have listened to my gut, I should have, but I didn’t. And so the following days I went back to him. Every time he would come back from work and we would go shopping, he would have his arm around me like he knew I might run. But once again I didn’t. I am not even sure if I was too scared, or if I didn’t care at that point. And that’s when I realised he was using me. But I couldn’t see a way out. I was too ashamed to admit my mistakes to anyone I knew. Couldn’t ask for help because I was sure I don’t deserve it. I got myself into this mess and that was the end of it. Until now, I’ve only talked about this with just one person.
I was starting to get claustrophobic. He would hold me so tight every night, I could barely breathe. He was swearing he loves me, and that I am his forever. I am not even sure what scared me the most: him truly believing that or trying to make me believe him. I was his ticket out from a life of struggle, while I was slowly fading away. He didn’t want to let me go out without him. ”There is nothing to see out there,” he would say to me, not bothering to acknowledge I was just a traveller passing through his city.
On the third day, I went on the roof, where people would leave clothes for drying on strings. It was just one or two floors up. I kept hoping someone would be around and I could ask for a way out, but nobody ever came. Even tried to find a way to jump down or climb to another building. I kept asking myself what is the worst-case scenario: to break a bone or to keep staying there. At the same time, I thought maybe someone will see me trying to escape and alert him. So I’ve chickened out. I couldn’t risk my life like that. At least he didn’t hurt me, not physically anyway. And there’s no actual proof for the other kind of trauma.
So I went back inside and made him dinner. Who was this person I was becoming? And how come all the strength I always had in me vanished so quickly? Everything happened so fast that I couldn’t process all the feelings I was going through. And every time he would come home, he would bring me some sweets. Like that could replace the oxygen I was starting to miss. On the fifth day, just a few hours before he had to return from work, his roommate came back. She didn’t speak any language I knew, and with my hands shaking I pointed to the door, trying to make her understand I needed to leave. She unlocked the door and for the first time in days, I was able to breathe again. But I had to hurry, I took the first taxi and I left.
Now you would think after all those scares and fears I went through, that is the end of the story. Unfortunately, it is not. Weeks passed and we met again, this time with him showing me a spare key. Told me he never knew I felt like a prisoner. I didn’t believe him, but I went back. Not to him, nor to the house, but to the same feeling of being stuck. It took me months and months to escape his hatred and to move on from his poisoning words. Even when I left the country, he would always find a way to get back in touch with me. My last escape happened when I changed my phone number. But my final breakout was having a breakthrough: I didn’t deserve this.