short short story

To[ugh love]

She never believed in this stuff they called tough love.  A medicine to be given when the giver – not the recipient – was as ill as hell.

There was no simple line between cruelty and kindness, but – at least for her – her life, and the bruises and weals on her body too, had shown that anyone who defined kindness in terms of cruelty was nothing but a perfect paradigm for violence and abuse.

Tough love was the recourse of the (mainly) men who realised that via the process of making a victim out of powerful demand, powerful demand could be vanquished: could be utterly tied down.

The only alternative to tough love was kindness and reconciliation.

But in the word “reconciliation” were contained the syllables “cili” –  and more and more she was reminded of this; more and more she despaired.

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