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Kiss it Better - Charnice Dagley

I don’t know where you came from or why you chose me. The pursuit was a swift one. On the strength of your disguise and the dreams you promised, infatuation unanticipated, I was all in. But we proved to be a beautiful disaster idling in frustrated silence at the breaking point. You turned my own emotions against me: was I crazy?

I saw more worth in you than I did myself.

A fire raged inside of me. I ignored Kristian, forgiven Brandi, incensed by Selina, violated with Anita, humiliated by Bianca. Emotional scars barely scabbing before you’d open another wound, love me enough to patch it up though never taking responsibility for the trauma you caused.

Mascot- I played a position in your game.

If only our breakup was as epic as Bernie setting her cheating husband’s clothes and car ablaze in Waiting to Exhale or satisfying like Carrie whipping Mr. Big with her bridal bouquet after he ghosted her at the altar in Sex in the City.

Our relationship was intoxicating and when I sobered up, searching for shattered pieces of my dignity, I questioned: what was it all for?

Months of courting other victims to mask the void; every man was the enemy and I sought vengeance for your crimes. They fell in love and became soulless skeletons in my closet. “Men only gonna do what you allow”, remember? Yet I remained damaged.

With little effort, you altered how I loved.

You needed to attest to the energy you left me to bear.

I feel you staring and I’m pretending not to take notice. Time has weathered us independently, yet your touch melts my nerves into a feeling of familiar I never knew I was missing.

I could leave but commit the minute I follow you in the door. The soft scent of blue cypress and vetiver transfers from your skin on to mine. My heart races with ascension as a direct effect of your affection.

Reacquainting, the connection just as magnetic as the first time. Intimacy over intercourse, of course. Roles reverse. You confess: the audacity to have thought you can live without me. Never had you been this vulnerable. I stand before man I don’t recognize. My pride desires to inflict the pain you did upon me with little satisfaction as the transfer of power completes. Karma: I am her; she is me.

Some people are irreplaceable. Fate made no error with us.

And in my quiet moments when it’s just me I still think of you. I still play songs off the soundtrack to our tragic love story. I still smile, I cry. Reminiscing does not equal missing. Peace of mind was the reward at the end of this lesson. I pray for every girl out there, you learned yours.

Love doesn’t always love you back.


A Delaware native, Charnice Dagley finds time to write between being a mom of three and her career in re-entry & rehabilitation. She served in the U.S. Navy before she gaining her bachelor and master degrees from Wilmington University in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Her love for writing was sparked by an essay contest in the 5th grade. She has been filling notebooks since then with works of young adult fiction exploring social issues, mental health, relationships, and identity. Charnice has short stories previously published in the 2018 Summer Edition of The Remembered Arts Journal and in the Second Edition of Genre: Urban Arts' Femme Literati: Mixtape in 2020.


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