I know that victims of abuse are often not quick to speak out.

And I know that deeply wounded people often smile to protect their own souls and console the souls of others.

I’ve learned that kindness is a function of sympathy and that our elders do not have a monopoly on wisdom.

I can attest that generosity lives only in the hearts of good people and that wishing a mean person would show an ounce of sensitivity is a waste of time.

Johnny, I want magic, and I’m given a tragedy.

I hope for a feel-good moment, and I get a melodrama.

I encountered the dark side of men far too young, that side that broke all my rules, that drove me to play with the night.

I’ve approached strangers, danced til I was drunk, laughed my head off, and seen chimeras.

I declared my love for the first time, that love that you think will last forever, that love you can’t live without…and he responded that I did not inspire love in him.

I fell apart. I took care of myself. I protected myself. And I met the devil once again.

I’m the victim of absent love and a too-strong tendency to fall in love.

And I cannot ignore that what matters to us the most comes with a fight.

I know one must not break a man down to a shadow of himself, and that humiliation is the weapon of the weak.

So I stopped blushing when rude men used crass language, and I taught them a little modesty.

Johnny, for all these reasons, and because they say that, no matter where we are, we trust those in whom we perceive common values and stories, in my soul and in my conscience, I’m on your side.

Yours truly,

Audrey Lisquit

Translated by Kenneth Barger