The umbilical cord snakes itself around my neck like a boa constrictor squeezing the life out of its prey. I can't live like this. I curl up into a fetal position on the sofa, bury my face in the softness of the cushion so that he can't see I'm crying. It's a novel feeling, the sensation of being unable to breathe. My heaving chest, silent sobs, huge gulps of air as if my life depended on it. My life depends on it, on this, if this is the rest of my life I would appreciate a bullet through my head right about now.
The umbilical cord tightens itself around my neck and I sit back helplessly and do nothing to stop it. I brought this upon myself. I should have cut off the cord two years ago. I should have broken away, rebelled like a normal teenager, instead my acquiescence to the idealised image they have of me in their heads, one that isn't remotely who I am, has led me here, to this moment, utterly sunken to my knees in helpless frustration and desperation. Do you know how it feels to see a pinhole of light amidst utter darkness and know that it's forever out of your reach? You're trapped here, your instincts are telling you to break out, but there's nothing you can do because your hands are tied behind your back and your legs are chained to the walls. I can't live like this, like a prisoner, I can't suppress who I am, not anymore. His voice is laced with a staunch insistence on his unreasonable demands, the ludicrous standard to which he holds me, and a palpable, unmistakable sense that he doesn't know me at all.
The umbilical cord is decaying around my neck and its stench repulses me like nothing ever has before. I'm sick and tired of this bullshit, of being treated like a child, of denying myself just to tiptoe around their wishes and commands and of trying so hard to live up to their expectations, their ideal version of who I am, even if that's not me, that's not who I want to be, that's not who I'd ever be. The story of my life: Twenty years on and they still don't get it. It should stop being such a rude shock, but every single time they manifest their dramatic lack of understanding of who I am I am appalled and ashamed anyway. This balancing act is so lopsided that I think I've fallen off the tight rope a long time ago; I just haven't fully realised it, until now.
The eternal presence of the umbilical cord in my life is the most ridiculous fact I ever have to admit to. I bleed myself dry for them and I'm always at the losing end, and at times like these I just want to get as far away from them as possible and never look back. Severance is easier said than done; for me, it's an impossibility.
I can't live like this anymore. What pains me the most is that I have absolutely no idea what to do.