I think the temperature must have hovered around 45 and misty when you took my hand and laid it to your chest amidst a maze of Belgian bricks and cobblestone. I couldn’t tell exactly what you wanted to communicate, but I felt the way your heart was pounding through the fabric of your shirt. You were watching my eyes, assessing my reaction, measuring the probability of success should you make another move towards me.
You smiled gently, sat to my side with a look of pain smeared across your face as if you hated that my presence was so penetrative to your psyche. Suddenly you grabbed my hand, swooping swiftly towards me, cupping my face in your hands and kissing me before you could stop yourself. You lost your breath, I saw it that night. You couldn’t keep it together. I was magnetized by your vulnerability. It was the real you. I swear it was. I know it was.
Maybe my heart knew right then it had to run from you.
The night we first allowed ourselves to come together and make love, I swear I left the cover of my skin and slipped inside a heavenly place with you inside of me. I witnessed the image of my soul dance across your eyes. A line of twinkle lights laid crooked on the shelf and you were there, my Greek God basked in a dewy glow and soaked in sweat as you dove toward my neck and made me feel more alive than I had ever been.
Still, now I see you in my dreams, the night I laid in inky lace, thread seamlessly within my mess of wavy hair. You’d met the man who sold cheap roses in the middle of the night on your way to see me, the only rose seller in town, who seemed to know we’d consummated something as of recent and was apt to encourage it. I swear to God it was what He wanted; for us to be together. You and me melted into each other like liquid gold. Pure divinity.
So many sticky nights we laid on top of each other, bare and vulnerable, draped in rose petals and moonlight, souls surprised at the extremity of our connection. I knew your neck, your hands, your legs and torso, and you held mine with a gentleness I’d never had the chance of feeling since I was a child. We were meant to be lovers, you said. Making love was what we were supposed to do. Fit together tightly like a jigsaw puzzle, you were everything I didn’t know I needed. In some strange way, we strove to heal each other with our mutual madness. I’m not sure now, in hindsight, that we managed to succeed.
Truth is, I couldn’t fix you if I tried.
Nights inseparable, moonlit, rose adorned, peppered with twinkle lights and indie rock; they played repeatedly like high notes, like a dream that never ended. I grasped your hair as Hallelujah blasted on the radio and afterward you held me in a way that made me want to spill all my tears into the comfort of your chest. Yet somehow, all at once, like a desperate crescendo reaching a deadly climax, that “love” slid slickly into a toxic descent.
If I knew the way I’d crack a million times and lose the spark within my spirit when you left me, boy, I swear I would have never opened up to you the way I did. Over time I’d lose the person I had always been and seep into a bleak and helpless version of myself. I ached ceaselessly for the bond we used to have. Every lie you ever told me suddenly leaped up to the surface and you gloated like a pig in moments I would write you begging for another chance – over email, at that. After all, you loved to keep me dangling on a thread, didn’t you?
I was sucked dry by the end of us. Empty and isolated and depressed by the lack of you. Every illusion I’d ever had was suddenly shattered like a flurry of stars in the sky. Like the ones we used to look at after a night of making perfect love, the ones I used to wish on all those months before I met you.
In the end, you had another woman in your bed three months prior to you and I having ceased our conversation. And I knew. But I fought for you anyway. What a stupid, silly little girl I was.
I like to think that what we had together was mutual, youthful, deep and spiritual love, but the truth is it was everything that love is not. Love is not lies. It is not manipulation, nor ghosting, nor playing games, nor cutting ties when things get hard.
No- that is all fear.
What those actions did to me was sever any fraction of hope in love I’d ever had and leave me on my hands and knees searching blindly for another ray of light. For that, my love, I simply hope you stop yourself the moment you meet someone who loves you as much as I do in the future and save them the misery you so handsomely afforded me.
To you, my toxic, fated tie: You left me feeling like an empty sack of marbles dumped haphazardly onto the surface of a kitchen table. Tossed into a heap like a frivolous afterthought. For that, I must thank you. It took the separation of my pieces to shape me into the woman I now embody. One who knows the love she will not settle for. What she will not ever again accept.
And one, should you ever try to come back, that you will never have the pleasure of knowing.