Immediately, I forget about my hurt, I forget how bad he is for me, I forget about the fact that he doesn’t really care about me because he doesn’t have the capacity to care about anyone in a deep way. Or maybe he does have the capacity, he just doesn’t allow himself to go there. I forget about it all and I take care of him. I give him water and bread to help him sober up. I help him walk because he’s totally unsteady on his feet. I end up putting him down on my bed because he’s in no shape for walking. As I try to leave the room, he grabs my hand.
“Please don’t go.”
His green eyes stare at me with a mix of wonder, awe, profound sadness, and a sheen of intoxication indicating his world is slightly out of focus. He lays on the bed horizontally, his long legs flopping over the side, as I lay next to him but kind of on top. He pulls me close and I feel that familiar comfort that always causes just a twinge of heartache. Heartache in knowing that it isn’t real, just an illusion. Like how his eyes, so green and serene, belie an inner world of darkness and defeat.
“I have to. I have 20 people in my apartment and you need to sleep it off.”
“Please don’t leave,“ he implores. “I need you.”
And there it was. He said the magic words.
And I stay. I don’t care that outside my bedroom door are 20 people who need to be entertained and are now probably rummaging through my fridge and cabinets to find supplies to keep the party going. Whatever, it’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter, all that matters is him, in my bed, drunk to the point of near incapacitation, to the point that his firm guard is at long last down, exposing the pain he fights so hard to mask behind a sexy smile and aura of I-don’t-care. He’s here and he wants me to be here and despite what I know, I just can’t break away.
“Fine, I’ll stay for five minutes. What’s going on with you? Why are you such a mess?” He looks away, I almost catch the sight of tears forming but he quickly blinks them away.
“I don’t know. I wish I knew. Thank you for staying.”
He tries to kiss me, because of course he does, and I surrender. But fortunately, some semblance of self-esteem wakes up from deep inside, sobers me up, and infuses me with better judgment and I immediately break away.
“No. I can’t do this. I’ll stay and we can talk, but I’m not kissing you. And you’re not staying here tonight.”
“Okay,“ he says dejectedly. “But you’ll still stay, right? You’ll be here?” I sigh. I want to be there. I want to be there for him.
And there’s the ache again; he’s here, but he’s not mine. The moments of comfort are interrupted by the knowledge that he’s going to eventually leave and this will be over. He won’t want me past right here and right now. He’ll forget me when I’m not in his line of vision.
We end up talking for about an hour before the rescue party comes in to retrieve me. I can’t help myself from digging deep into his issues and I desperately wish they would disappear so we could be happy together.
I feel proud of myself that I don’t let him stay the night, that I have the foresight to know that him staying won’t change anything, that he will still be him. But I’m also sad. So sad that he’s someone I like, and he clearly has some sort of feelings for me, and we just can’t be together.
I think I’ll for sure hear from him after this, that he will at least thank me for taking care of him, but that never comes and why am I even surprised?
We have a few more of these incidents over the course of a year. Months go by without seeing each other, we cross paths, we either have an intense talk or we make out, I don’t hear from him and feel devastated, and repeat repeat.
The final straw for me came during a weekend at the Hamptons. I knew it would be trouble. Me and him in that setting. I knew I was asking for it. So I did the mature thing and flirted with other guys to make him jealous. And he did the mature thing and scowled at me and gave me the cold shoulder and flirted with other girls. And we were both very mature and basically ignored each other all weekend.