Ruthie says nightfall is really hard for her still. It’s dark, and Nata didn’t come home, and so she knows she will have to sleep alone. Sleeping without Nata is really, really hard. Sleeping in Nata’s arms was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and it hurts not to have it anymore.

There is the physical part of sleeping—that I get to be held, that I get to have that physical, animal comfort of being close to her.

But there’s another part to it, which is that if we are sleeping, the abuse is over. We didn’t ever grab a quick nap before trafficked. If we were going to be trafficked later, there were other things we did together instead. Sleeping happened only afterward. So part of what was wonderful about sleeping with Nata was that it signaled the abuse was over.

Now, night falls, and there is no signal that I am safe and that I am not going to be trafficked during the night.

So, it’s hard. And it’s hard for more than one reason. It is so hard that Ruthie wants to be dead. She wishes that she could just stop breathing, or that I would let her jump in the river that is swelling from rain again.

When I wake up in the morning, she still wants to be dead. I do. I can feel it too. It’s not pushed back. It’s in both of us—this profound despair.

It’s discouraging. It seemed that I had survived a few things, that the worst triggers had passed, and things might get better now. But feeling suicidal is not better.

Anyway, I was thinking about that while I heated breakfast and it occurred to me that I seemed to be experiencing the suicidality at full strength. I had a clear, internal sense that what I felt was all there was: I wasn’t shutting a part of it down because the full intensity of it was too much, which had been the case before.

Which made me think it was going to get better soon. This puts the integration of that feeling on the horizon: and when feelings are integrated they somehow, magically get better.