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Be gentle with me.

I laugh aloud at the absurdity of his words. I'm laughing so hard my stomach hurts, so hard that I suddenly realize that I'm not laughing afterall, my cheeks are wet and I'm crying almost hysterically. Be gentle with me, he says, as I hold my near broken heart out in my swollen hands. He looks away, not even noticing, off in the distant towards a world he's never allowed me to enter. Be gentle with me, as he looks at me from under his eyelids and for a moment my balance is thrown off and I think I just may fall. His hands reach out and he's about to catch me in his strong arms. He's about to hold me close to him, but I somehow find myself sitting on the floor with my legs bruised up instead.

Be gentle with me, he said.

I've been silently screaming those words at him for years.