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Incomplete Woman

Incomplete Woman

– Fierce Fiction by Ailish James – April 19, 2018 –

Incomplete Woman

My last partner threw me away after my legs wouldn’t open for him.

He didn’t explicitly say that of course; he said something about a lack of connection. He resented me, after three attempts at sex. Couldn’t understand why he couldn’t juice me like an apple, why I close up, why my body spasms in an instant, shutting the doors to him.

I told him

“I’m sorry,”

and it wasn’t anything to do with how much he meant to me, it had nothing to do with him, it was

“my fault we can’t have sex,”

my problem.

All of it was down to me.

 I am incapable of making love. I am nothing.

Tonight, I’ve run a bath of scorching water.


And when I bath………………. I will the scent

of him

to leave my skin.

I want his fingerprints off my chest

The evidence that he entered me to                                                                                                  disappear.

My last partner told me,

“It’s okay, you’re just a virgin and it’s normal to be scared.”

I didn’t want to tell him that

I wasn’t a virgin.

Something about his assumption made me feel like a second hand good, like I somehow meant less if I told him that


had already

used me as a

place to spend the night.


I look I find pieces of him.


The smell of him won’t leave my sheets no matter how many times I wash them. Sometimes I even see fragments
of                 his face                in my own reflection. It’s like on that night he took me apart with a blunt saw,







off my skin and stitched me back together all wrong. He took a piece of me with him when he shut the door. He reached inside me with his fingers and pulled out something that belonged to me, and now living without it I feel like

I’m not  a woman anymore

I’m not  a woman

a woman


I’m not  anymore a


When my partner slept next to me, I listened to the s o u n d of his breathing,


his body           and








_____________________like the waves.


Occasionally I think about dying, now that I feel I have to ask permission just to take up the space my body exists in. My space

has become his,

MY house has become someone else’s, something haunted and no longer mine. The room that I lived in that used to give me so much comfort, has become a source of anguish.

A source of                                                                                    memories

I willed them with all my strength to leave, not to resurface. But, every time I slept on that mattress they were there, his eyes drilling into me.

So I sleep on my sofa. I’ve shut the door to my room, leaving it in  darkness.

My last partner was sweet. At first, he didn’t mind that I flinched away from him. I was just a timid little thing after all. I suppose it scratched away at him in the end. Something he could no longer deal with.


I was something

that had

to be dealt with.

Whatever that was.


What I couldn’t explain to my last partner and the one before that, and before that,

was that when their hands touched mine, they weren’t always theirs.

They were his.

What I couldn’t explain is that when they lay on top of me and looked into my eyes, my body would take me back. My skin would burn where their fingers grasped, as if their hands were hot coals. Their lips would turn to dust on mine.

Their words wrote me compliments.

And yet,

“You’re beautiful”

sounded like

“You should be quiet.”

“I love you”

was a disguise for

“You’re nothing.”

“It’s okay, you can trust me”

wasn’t about trust at all,


it was just the sound of his voice



before he turned me inside out.


I’m more tired now than anything.






_______________Sleep feels like a lost dream, or a friend, one I haven’t contacted for a long time.


“You’ve changed.”

That’s what carrying around your shame, filth and disgust does to you.










Shame is my shadow.

After carrying around the weight of my shame for so long, I’ve wilted, fearing to bloom. If I bloom I’ll be picked and discarded. People stop to look at flowers, only to walk on.

Part of me has stopped recognising myself in the mirror.

I wake in the morning and don’t know who I am.

I don’t know who I am anymore

He’s taken my limbs, pulled apart my spine, jumbled my insides, my mind is his now. Here is my body. And he has laid it to waste, and I will continue to be buried in dust.


And again

And again

And again.

And all I can think about is that my face is no longer mine.

My hands

My skin

My heart

My lungs

My genitals


All belong to someone else

Occasionally men will pick them up and examine them, decide their use.


After my bath, I turned to my book. It was a gentle sort of novel, a romance of sorts. And when it described sex, it was like the stars had fallen from the heavens just to witness its splendour. To take part in that moment.

A moment that’s never mine.


Leaving the book on the coffee table, I  walk into my room.

Once inside I catch his smell, and without hesitating I yank the curtains aside and open the window to look out at the perfectly still night sky. In that instant I feel my own hands cup my body. The fresh air sweeps inside and caresses me softly.


I will light up the night sky with flames.

Red light


Like a friend holding my hand



Voices sounding mildly alarmed


Once I decide to do something I’m the type of person to rarely change my mind. I’m in my back garden. Neighbours are peering from their windows. I look up at the moon and see her smiling, her cheeks flushed red. In my hands is a lighter.

Each second the mattress burns I feel lighter.

Closer to complete.


About the Author
Ailish Annie James is a 21 year old graduate of literature whose only experience writing is scribbling ideas whilst she should have been listening in lectures. At the moment she is enjoying experimenting with short stories and poetry. She hopes to be going to Japan to teach English in June but, is currently residing in her hometown in North Wales and working in a funky tea shop.



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