“Let me tell you about my first love” Catherine exhaled as she rolled onto her back, staring at the ceiling, she bared her body as she was about to bare her soul.
“You don’t realise it at first” she began “that you’re in love. Until it consumes your every fibre and your body aches until you don’t think it can ache any more. Even when friends realise you are obsessing and talking non-stop about how happy you are and how touched you feel. You long to be touched even more. It creeps up on you when you’re not paying attention and BAM it hits you”.
Catherine propped herself on her elbows and continued excitedly “ You begin to spend more and more time away from your friends and family but make out like it wasn't your choice. But it was your choice to stay. No one understands. They say they care for you and want you to be happy and healthy. So when you realise you are so deeply in love that it hurts, it physically hurts you until you can no longer stand, you push them away. They have never been in love before, not real love like this. It’s a compulsion that you just can’t walk away from, even if you wanted to. It’s your blood. Your sweat and tears. It’s your choice to give your body and soul away like a sacrifice. Years of commitment, dedication and giving. Years of putting your all into loving so outwardly as well as in. Years of enduring the torture because deep down you believe it will all be ok in the end.”
“But it wasn't ok” Catherine paused. Without moving she willed herself not to cry. Blinking momentarily she closed her eyes to the burning flood which was bursting to flow over her composure. She paused. Opening her eyes, she resumed staring at the ceiling.
“When you are the epitome of happy you never think that anything can upset or hurt you. You walk around as if you’re in a bubble. Oblivious to the happenings around you, you feel untouchable, unbreakable even. Nothing can prepare you from having that feeling snatched away from you in a split second. Nothing can prepare you for having your life, the world as you know it, turned upside down”
Unable to control the tears, or unaware that they were streaming down her cheek and onto her naked chest, Catherine fought to restrain her anger and upset. “Don’t you get it? Your whole world goes black. Nothing. You don’t even feel the pain which you know is shearing through your body. Just emptiness. A void that was once filled with passion and emotions. Now you are hollow. All because you stepped out of line once. One time and you get punished for the rest of your life. As the reality starts to sink in the deafness which engulfed you begins to disappear, a bluster of noise wakes you. A blur of images rouse you from discontentment. You scream out in agony. It feels like you are being stabbed repeatedly. You know it’s over. This is the end. Yet you hold onto that tiny flicker of hope that someone out there may be able to help. Someone as disciplined and passionate as you may go that extra mile to help you. But they don’t. Instead they create a new life for you. A new life so foreign to you that you begin to question the worth of your existence. You feel lost. Alone. Hopeless and alien. You feel like you will never be loved again. You worry that you will never be able to love again. All because of one silly mistake that cost me my career and my soul. When you’ve been working your entire life to be a professional dancer you cannot help but feel cheated when a stranger tells you you cannot dance ever again. This stranger, who wears a badge of qualifications, thinks that its ok to just decide my fate at the drop of a hat."
Leaning forward Catherine cups her head in her hands and screams into them. “It was all his fault. I may still have been able to dance had it not been for him. I may still have been able to walk had he not have worked a double shift. I hate him. I hate him for ruining my life. I used to feel happy and now? God now all I feel anger and hatred. I used to be beautiful. Just look at me. LOOK AT ME”
Sobbing into her lap Catherine scoops up her legs and in one swift and rehearsed movement she hauls them weightlessly over the side of the bed. Reaching over to the wheelchair she thuds her feet onto the footrest and pushes her knees where they are meant to follow. Clinging on to the arms she drags the rest of her body into the seat.
A she removes the breaks she turns to roll away from the bed. Before leaving she looks at the man inside her bed, for the first time since she told her story. Seizing the sheet with her near hand she looked at the pity and sorrow he felt towards her. “That is exactly the reason I do not love anymore” and with that she snatched the sheet and covered her modesty for once leaving someone else feeling exposed.