I still hate you sometimes, though I’m loath to admit it. I worry that saying it aloud will transform me into one of the excessive hangers-on to an ex-relationship that I never wanted to be.
But it’s true. I do still hate you sometimes. Not the tear-stained, heart-panging, clench my gut way I used to. It has slowed to a burning of embers left long after the fire. We haven’t seen each other in one forever, haven’t spoken in two, but scars, I’m learning, take a long time to heal.
I rolled out my mind and heart for you to love, but instead you took scissors to it, editing out parts you did not like, are not acceptable, are not lovable. You grew tired of any story about my life, unafraid to proclaim yourself bored. You prodded like a surgeon at the things I loved, diagnosing me with an abundance of novels, being idealistic, foolish, stupid. I was also selfish whenever I didn’t feel like having sex, too emotional when I would would yell, trying too hard when I dressed up for our dates. My tears became commonplace to you, a mere annoyance in our marathon fights: why can’t you control yourself? You’re being crazy!
Each almost-breakup filled with promises that I could hear the emptiness in, but chose to ignore. “I’ll be better, we can fix this, this is not that big a deal.” The only times you told me you loved me was whenever I tried to leave you.
With these atrocities leveled against you, it’s easy for anyone else to label you. File you in a neat, organized box titled, jerk, douchebag, asshole, liar, manipulator, insensitive prick. The evidence I’ve littered on the court room floor are clearly damning, reason enough for me to hate you, too. Right?
But none of these things are why the hatred remains. No, these old marks say nothing about me anymore. They are nothing but skin-deep finger paint that I have long since showered and scrubbed away.
No. Hate still pools in my gut for different reasons. I hate you when I remember the way you curved around me when we slept, said your bed was never the same when I was not there. I hate you for all the times you stared at me with eyes so full of me I couldn’t help but fall in. You listened to music like you felt it in your bones and kissed me like the most precious treasure you had ever laid eyes on. You said I was beautiful in melodic hushed tones that I had never heard anywhere before. Like you were reverent of what lay before you.
I hate you because I still can’t reconcile the mirror image boyfriends I had. How could you banish the most of the insecurities I carried about my appearance while injecting new ones saying I was not smart, never thought about the right things. You would convince me to blow off my friends, then be sweet and caring, asking me about who I wanted to become.
I hate you because I cannot hate all of you. No, that would have been much easier. Our relationship is still a mixed-up mosaic in my head. How can I use that as a map for the future when there’s no key for what was right and what was wrong, and for that matter which way is even north?
I almost wish you had been worse to me.