Because He Loves Me

by Hana Kaneko

I’m hiding in my closet with my screams choking on the clothes that hang messy and disorganized. The shadows are pushing against my heart as the devil’s footsteps shake my skull.

It’s breaking. Closed eyes can’t protect me from the corners that I’m cornered in as red hot bruises are splashed on my skin.

Because he loves me.

I should be grateful for his care and shelter, be grateful for his protection from the evil man with his hungry eyes. To hide the beauty that I’m not even sure I have, because of these scars on my waist and my dirt colored skin. And her tongue is the knife that cuts into my flesh with the imperfections of my body.

A 7 year old girl with a crush on a boy who thinks she talks too much and is too outgoing stands in the pearly pink bathroom of the small school building. The white girls giggle about the black and blue paintings on her skin.

Because he loves me.

He doesn’t want me to have to rely on the patriarchy that haunted his sister who was pregnant at 16.

“Feminist,” he says.

“I am a Feminist.” With harsh words that forced me to wear baggy jeans and tie my hair up to look like a boy because it was my fault that I was born.

a girl.

Because he loves me.

A 17 year old girl who grew up much too young sits across from a boy trying to comprehend what his words mean. “I love you.” But the only love she knows is exhausting 3 A.M. fights filled with fears that fall to the floor with the flood of anger that she can no longer hold back.

Because he loves me.

But, is it okay because he loves me?

He was supposed to be my bright knight in shining armor as I curled up under the covers next to my mother in their room as he scared the monsters under my bed away.

But, Papa, you are the monster under my bed.

to that one boy i loved this summer

they say don’t fall for a boy like him

but I fell and boy

i fell hard

when he looked at me

it was as if the world had stopped

and all he could see was me

i felt his gaze in every cell of my body

from the top of my head

to the tips of my fingers and toes

my blood was on fire




it was as if I had been invisible for my whole life and it was only now that I could be seen

really seen


it was intoxicating to be in the same room as him

every time our arms or legs just barely brushed up against one another

my body felt like a live wire

i was acutely aware of




and when he wasn’t around

i looked for him in everyone I saw

i craved his warmth and his smile

i heard his laugh in the courtyard

i was nauseous at meal times

heart beating fast each time the dining hall door swung open

gut clenching hoping it was him

disappointed relief when it was not


the signs were there

the lingering, physical touch

the long, personal talks

the seeming genuine interest

and remembrance of the smallest of details


i couldn’t believe it

how could he

this man

whose body belonged to that of a god

be remotely interested




everything they say

the signs were there


and so I leapt into the no man’s land of love

t e r r i f i e d of his answer

and I waited


and waited


and waited


and then

it was too good to be true


so yeah, they tell you not to fall for a boy like him for a reason

they reel you in

sink their hooks in you deep

then tell you that sadly

there was already another fish on board


and so instead I wait

and allow myself to have a friend


but still every glance

every laugh

every hug

every moment of our bodies just barely resting on one another


and I feel so alive

so awake

so present

so consumed by his presence


and I don’t regret a single fucking moment