I said I love you.
But there was no love.
There were, however, chains around my hands and my feet.
Tight and suffocating chains. Yet I didn’t try to remove them. I never tried to free myself. The shackles jingled like Christmas bells. The noise was almost comforting in a way.
Your pure manipulative language pressed down on the frontal lobe of my brain.
I looked you in the eyes and said these three meaningless words.
It was not the chains that forced me to say these words. And it was not your manipulation. It was me telling myself that I was in love, that this is what love felt like. I guess I manipulated myself. I guess I manipulated myself into thinking you were a different person, a different person who was capable of loving me.
I remember the day that I first met you.
I felt like a princess.
But you were merely a beast disguised as prince charming.
Our first conversation was simple. It was intriguing. I felt like I needed to know everything about you; I wanted to know everything about you.
The hopeless romantic inside my brain urged me to pursue a fantasized fairytale.
It’s funny how false first impressions can be.
For the first few months, everything was fine. It was more than fine. We spent every minute together. You slept beside me and I laid awake at night happy, imagining a future with you.
One day, I arrived at your apartment.
The true you began to show. Your true motives. The face behind your mask. However, I ignored the first sign and continued to care for you.
This fairytale was fallacious. There was no truth to it. I fell in love with a man who was a figment of my imagination. I fell in love with who I thought you were. I did not fall in love with you.
Months went by and your manipulation progressed. Every day, it began to become more evident.
A year went by, and I finally walked away. I accepted that you—what and who you made yourself out to be—were just make believe.
Do I regret our time spent together?
Yes, I regret ever meeting you. I regret every laying eyes on you.
Because if I did not meet you, if I had never laid eyes on you, I would still believe in love.
I would still believe in the power of fairy tales.
They say that every person you meet, every love story you endure, teaches you a lesson. From you, I learned nothing. If anything, maybe I learned to not let my guard down. Or maybe I learned to not wear my heart on my sleeve. But those are lessons I could have taught myself.
For a long time, I lived with the idea in my head that you were a lesson. The idea that my time with you was supposed to teach me something.
I was wrong.
It only made me stronger and smarter.