It still amazes me how bright and clear your world was before I entered it. I don’t know how long it took before you, too, realized that my sadness and anger were darkening your life. I was bringing misery to you, so much misery it was overflowing. I would cup it in my palms and hand it to you like the act of shifting water from one lake to another. And indeed, its extent was like a lake, an endless one: no matter how much I gave you, there was still plenty left for me. Misery and despair slopping out of my cupped hands, dripping onto the floor, and still there was always more.
I exhibited dizzying displays of bipolarity, wherein I swung crazily between affection and apathy. I would stare at your retreating back, note how your muscles were tense with anger and frustration, as I stood against the kitchen counter (the scene of many an explosive argument) and found myself unable to move or speak. Except maybe to snap out another sarcastic comment. No matter how much I wanted to, it was always so, so hard for me to say “I’m sorry.” Those two words could change the course of an argument, even stop it in its tracks, but I just couldn’t spit them out in the heat of anger. In the midst of a few particularly bad fights I honestly thought it would be easier to walk away forever, pride intact, than to apologize. Sometimes I would try to force the words up through my throat and out of my mouth, but they always got stuck somewhere along the way.
Whenever we had the smallest argument — which I tended to push us into, often simply to test our limits — I would come up with the ugliest insults I could think of. In those moments I was spiteful, filled with hate. I hated you exactly as much as I had loved you minutes earlier. I would fix on all your weaknesses and fears and insecurities and aim my words at those soft hidden parts of you, words sharpened into tiny knife points.
Later, I always tried to take it back. I would curl tight against your back in the dead of night, listen to your breathing as I knew you were listening to mine, try to communicate the depth of my regret through the closeness of my body to yours. Your skin burned against mine, because it was hot under the covers — our arms grew stiff from holding each other so tightly — but we could never get close enough.
I would murmur into the back of your neck, “I’m sorry. I love you so much. I’m so sorry.”
And for a little while, in the darkness, we were okay. Your fingers would lace with mine and you would give my hand a squeeze.
But over time, the fights got worse. And they multiplied until they outweighed the moments of peace. And our feelings of happiness — true happiness, not just empty smiles pasted on in public — spread out more and more, until it was rare to share even one real laugh with you. This was deepening into a rift that midnight apologies could not mend. I kept trying, whispering those old words into your neck, but more and more I found I was lying against a stranger. Your fingers sometimes still found mine, but your grip was slack, as if you were already asleep.
I still remember the last night we were together. I was holding back tears as I curled against your back. I think I saw it coming, knew that it was the last time we would lie side by side in the same bed. I hugged you as tightly as I could. I kissed your neck and apologized from the bottom of my heart. I told you I loved you over and over.
But it wasn’t enough, and I lost you.