Leaving you felt strange. It felt like a different reality, like something that wasn’t permanent, because leaving you had never been permanent in the past. It was for the best. It was what my intuition kept screaming at my heart. The subconscious truth was the reason I would sometimes find tears in my eyes and aches in my chest, and breath that moved in shallow sharp whips through my half parted lips. But just because it was right, doesn’t mean it always feels that way.
When I think back to you now, I feel an eerie emptiness. The thought of you makes the whole time we were together feel fake. I was your disguise – a way to cover up your issues. Something for you to put your attention on and distract yourself with so you wouldn’t have to face your demons.
You needed me. I don’t know if you loved me, but you needed me.
You needed an island. I was that island. And that’s not what I wanted, because all I really wanted was for you to want me. Not need me. Want me. And love me for who I was as a person, not for what I did for you and how I made you feel like your problems and your issues and your anxieties and your addictions and your past experiences were all okay. You used me as a barrier between yourself and the things about yourself that you wanted to hide from.
But you ended up burying me too.
Along with your skeletons, smothering me under strict demands and black and white ultimatums and harsh words that you quickly forgot, but for me, lingered, and always sent me spiraling into a frenzy of an alternate reality. Your skeletons were closer to the surface than I was, so when I finally dug myself out of your prison, I awoke the demons on my way up. The next thing you know, you find yourself waking up in a cold sweat with an empty pill bottle and me leaving as your only memory.
You hugged me when I walked in the day I left. I left my bag in the car because I was almost sure I wouldn’t be staying. You saw I didn’t have a bag and you knew what that meant. Even though I didn’t have a bag when I walked into your apartment, I still brought a bag that I left in the car. That’s how my subconscious worked when I was near you. Confused and unsure. Mostly sure, but with possibilities that might easily sway that surety.
I couldn’t even sit by you that day; I didn’t want to touch you. You were like a foreign entity to me, I didn’t know you anymore. But it’s really all a blur that blends together. We were sitting, you got up and blew out the candle. You closed the door on me as I struggled to hold two plastic trash bags, that you helped me fill. You gave me two tupperware bowls. You also gave me nightmares when I was awake.
I guess this is when you took the pills.
Sometimes I wondered if it would have been different if you wouldn’t have put so much pressure on me, making me promise I would never leave, no matter what. No matter what. No matter what. That killed me, and it changed the way I looked at you. Instead of being able to see you for what you were, my new boyfriend, you forced me to look at you in a new light.
You made yourself into a hopeless trap instead of a safe place to come home to.
No matter what happened, I would have to be with you. You convinced me I couldn’t leave, no matter how bad everything got. No matter what you did or how you treated me. If I ever left, that meant I would be branded as a liar. It would mean something about me as a person. It seemed more like a death sentence than a happy relationship. To me, at least.
Sometimes, I also wonder if it would have been different if you didn’t do drugs. I listened to you talk about drugs day in and day out. Telling me the same facts over and over, the same stories over and over, talking over me over and over. And I nodded. Sometimes I wouldn’t say anything. I didn’t want to talk about it constantly. I wanted to ignore the fact that you had a drug problem. I couldn’t accept it. I wanted to pretend like you were normal and that we were normal. Even though we weren’t. At all. I hated the fact that you were an addict. I know I shouldn’t have hated it. It wasn’t your fault. You were a victim of circumstances that you never asked for. A victim of a system that cares more about a green piece of paper than they ever will about you. But none of that changes how much I hated feeling like I would always be second to a blue pill that numbed your pain and worsened mine.
I remember sitting on the couch and laughing with you that one night. I felt like I wanted you and no one else but you. That night I said forever. I remember the night when we couldn’t stop touching each other. You buried your head in my chest, breathing hard. I hugged you.
I don’t know if I ever loved you. I want to believe I did, but I don’t know. I liked the idea of you, but I don’t know if I ever truly loved all of you. There were parts of you that I just couldn’t accept. You forced me into saying I loved you. When I said it, I thought I meant it, but after I said it all I wanted to do was take it back. I said it the day that I still had puffy eyes from crying. You never did know how to apologize.
Now your memory haunts me. As you take pills and pass out on couches and flounder through life pretending you’re fine, I’ll be here. All I wanted were cold days, and warm love, and hot romance, and late night talks, and burning candles, and steamy showers, and drunken times, and spontaneous trips, and winter activities, and family time, and true love. But I don’t get any of that from you. I never would have. No morning kisses. No goodnight kisses.
You’ll be there when I think of the person I thought you were. When I think of all the potential my mind created for you. The potential that you crushed the same way you crushed me. You’ll be there to remind me that all of it actually happened. That dancing in a crowded bar with loud music actually happened. I can’t help it; I’ll always care about you and I don’t regret a thing. Except letting you do what you did to me, and having such high expectations for a mirage like you.