It’s like watching a car crash happen in slow motion but being powerless to stop it or even to look away.
I remember heat. More than anything else when I think about those four months, I think about sticky, sweltering heat. The kind of heat that makes breathing uncomfortable and stripping your clothes off the second you can is one of the best feelings in the world. We kicked the blankets to the end of the bed and they formed little nests for the discarded t-shirts and tank tops we couldn’t stand to have next to our skin because the only thing we could stand to touch was each other.
I was painfully sunburned for most of that summer. He would cling onto my arms or linger for a moment too long on my shoulders and the skin would change from red to white leaving an impression of his fingertips, pulsing and sore. We’d jump into the pitch black lake and for a split-second, it felt like I was being ripped in half before the water would make everything cooler, better.
I’d come up gasping for air. I was never totally sure if it was from being out of practice from swimming and being around water in general or from constantly being submerged and pulled under in him.
We sat on the edge of the boat in the middle of the night. The motor was off; we were just drifting, hoping that we didn’t float into shallow water. Flathead Lake is practically uncharted so the likelihood that we’d hit the bottom was next to non-existent, but if was going to happen to anyone it would be us. Bad luck seemed to follow us like a virus we couldn’t shake.
I let my feet linger causing ripples of their own against the waves of the boat rocking while he rattled off all of the things he’d wanted to do but never had. I think I was drinking warm Corona and watching him talk animatedly with those tan, young limbs thinking about how alive he seemed. He pointed at the sky with his hands and seemed untouchable. Little did I know just how breakable he really was.
That’s the thing about addiction; it creates an illusion of invincibility. It seems like nothing can happen, nothing can be ruined as long as you both are completely intertwined. You and your addiction can take on anything; you just have to have each other.
And he was addicted to adrenaline and I was addicted to him.
He knocked the beer out of my hand causing a stain that no one else ever noticed when he tackled me to the bottom of the boat, flicking the safety light out on his way down. I probably said something in passing about the lake patrol even though I didn’t care as he pinned me underneath, smiling that smile I found myself craving at all hours of the day. I always felt so small next to him. We created more waves than we could handle and I was content to drown over and over and over again.
It was like watching a car crash happen in slow motion but not being able to stop it or look away.
We were the crash. And I never even tried to stop it.