silhouette of person standing on grass while facing sunlight

An Ode To Bidding Adieu An Illicit Affair

I want you to know something after the fact. I want you to know that this feels like some sort of sad freedom to me. I became much too infatuated with the idea of you and who you may be—most affairs perpetuate such an illusion, both parties projecting their unmet needs on one another—because I’ve always been privy to fucked up toxic romanticism and the highs and lows that come from participating in such events.

There’s so much about you that I wanted to be great, but I ultimately settled on little disillusions that grew into hopeful fantasies and resulted in internalized truths that you could be everything I needed, eventually, to make myself feel like I had wasted no time, that no past unhealthy behavioral patterns existed, that you didn’t represent my relationship with my dad in a fucked up way, that I could be truly loved. So I settled for what I felt I deserved—the absolute untouchability of you paired with the emotional self-inflicted punishment. And I didn’t understand why my friends and family saw things so much differently. I partly think I just wanted their attention, just like I would do nearly anything to get yours. To be interesting and receive the gratification that my story was always going to be somewhat tragic and that that was somehow romantic to everyone, myself included.

In any case, it was never real. In fact, the last thing I remember thinking about you in person is that you were boring. I even went out that night after you left. And then my mind endlessly embellished you, somehow more and more the less we talked. But I’ve grown accustomed to distancing myself from reality since my first imaginary friend as a child, I suppose, to instill faith that thoughts become things and fill a void the universe knows you’re in need of. They always tell you that. It just happened to grow into more sinister sentiments along the way on how things actually work versus how I so desperately wanted them to, willingly depleting my self-esteem in the process.

And I don’t know how many times it will take until I can get things right. Do things that make me feel good rather than craving self-destruction and indulging in self-pity. Maybe I want to be the tragic love of my own life. I don’t know. But I also know the pain is all-consuming—for a while, anyway. Then you get to the place where you’re finally numb. And that’s the best place—being immune to the kind of pain that wakes you up at 3 a.m., not caring what people think, feeling free, in a sense, again. It just takes so damn long to get there. And that’s the hard part. I hate that I knew this was wrong for so long, but I selfishly wanted it so badly that I reveled in the straws I could grasp at to justify all this. So now I grieve. For so many things—the least of which is actually you. And that’s it, that’s where we start.

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