The slamming of the door, your hurtful words echoing in my ears and my rough throat chafing from screaming matches that last for hours. The tightness in my chest as we both turn into monsters we don’t recognize. Your tears that I ignore because I am still seeing red everywhere. We hurl so much shit against each other, it’s hard to believe the words “I love you” come from the same lips.

During less tumultuous moments, we talk. I say how it pushes me over the edge when my pleas for silence are ignored, and how I mean it when I say that I need a few hours alone to calm down first. I vow once more never to use your secrets to deliberately hurt you. You promise to stop bringing up past mistakes and pushing me towards a confrontation. We communicate.

But we fail a lot of times and the cycle begins again.

I have told you time and time again that we need to leave, that we need to end things because we are emitting noxious fumes that threaten to suffocate each other. You have said goodbye so many times even you have stopped believing it. We decide to go. But we circle back after going down different paths because we already know our inevitable destinations even as we take step after step away.

On our best days, we are invincible. When I’m with you, I feel like a topnotch human being. You shine. We make each other laugh over the littlest things, and have the deepest conversations. We have been there for each other though breakdowns and failures, through triumph, through illness, through moments that are too vulnerable to share with anyone else.

There are many moments in our relationship that are hideous. We both know this. We both know what should be. But when our demons rear their heads and get ready to kill each other, we run to opposite sides, take our weapons, and get ready to maim. Some of our friends have suggested that it would be better for the both of us to just stop everything and break it off for good. Some insist that us being together is a mistake. I understand. But it is hard to describe the magnetic pull between us, and I have never found the words to explain why you feel so right to me. You just do.

We have broken up countless times and gone our own ways and have been in different picture-perfect relationships in comparison to what we have. But no one ever fit like you did. No one felt as easy, in the way that time flows unnoticed because your mere presence is happiness to me. Easy like having an understanding that doesn’t need to be spoken. Easy like manic butterflies in my stomach when we kiss (I never expected them to survive through the years). Easy like instinct, the subconscious knowledge that you are who I trust and I am who you count on. Easy like it might even be love.

Slowly and deliberately, we are trying to fix the violent and destructive patterns that have become habits over the years. Unlearning bad behavior and replacing them with healthy ones is not always easy. I see your struggle and you feel mine. Sometimes, I’m even doubtful that it is doable. But I have always been certain that it’s worth it. We both continue to learn.

Sometimes you’re home and sometimes you’re a war zone.

I am still figuring out how this could be. TC Mark

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