The way she tasted. I would never forget. The way her slender fingers wrapped around the cigarette she would bring slowly toward her mouth.
I told her things that nobody else knew. That I wasn’t as strong as everyone else thought I was. That I suffered crippling panic attacks and couldn’t leave home without my medication.
That I wanted to kill myself but I was too scared.
Her lips lightly brushed my own, and she whispered – “it’s okay, nobody is perfect’. She was perfect. And she was mine.
She would draw, I would write. The way her hair fell in her eyes when she would lean in to sketch in a particularly intricate line. I would brush it behind her ears, savoring the softness of her skin. Those drawings were her life – haunting images of children with wild, lonely eyes. Her parents had died when she was young, but she claimed she wasn’t drawing herself.
I guess she needed me as much as I needed her. We were one, figuring out the world, trying to survive amidst the chaos.
Every Friday night we would go out dancing. My hands would move around her slender form, lingering around her waist, holding her close, breathing her in. We were never aware of anyone else around us, and it didn’t matter. We had everything we needed.
But one day everything changed, as swift and sudden as a heart attack. And just as fatal. She would bristle when I wrapped my arms around her, body turning stiff, rejecting my advances. Her eyes became distant and guarded, forcing a wedge between us.
She was still everything to me, but something in her had changed.
I asked her if everything was okay.
“I can’t make myself love you anymore.”
As final as an icy dagger to the heart.
Panic gripped at my throat as I reached for my medication. My world spun, and through tears I watched her leave. The only piece of perfection in this world had turned grotesque. I was a fool to be surprised. Tears seemed to rise from the very pit of my stomach, so powerful that I had to gasp for breath.
I died that day.
But life goes on as much as I may have wished it would end. Everyday I would relive that moment, torturing myself with her words. Feeling as if I deserved the pain, a punishment for not being worthy of her love. A love that I thought was perfect. If I couldn’t physically commit suicide, I would hang myself emotionally. I analyzed and dissected every word and every moment in our relationship. Where had I gone wrong?
I took me six months to realize that perhaps it wasn’t my fault. That perhaps I wasn’t an ugly monster, who, through some fault of my own, did not deserve to be loved. I slowly started to rebuild my life.
But nothing could prepare me for the moment when I saw her again.
His hands were exploring her body the way mine used to. Lingering at her waist as he leant in to kiss her mouth hungrily – the only people in the world. My stomach lurched as I fumbled to fight the panic.
And then I saw her eyes, and a sudden peace washed over me. How had I never seen it before?
Eyes as wild and lonely as the children she used to draw, hinting that nobody would ever be able to hold on to her love.
She would never stop running.