Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I Didn't Love You

new york imageLong after I slammed down the phone, you still thought I loved you.

I heard her breath behind you, quiet through static. 

Two years and eight days. 

I didn't love you, I needed a way out.

At first, it had all been innocent, promising to manifest into an exchange of sweet anecdotes to grandchildren. I was shy at sixteen with no grasp of my identity. You were strong, and you stared at me like the sun. We met in the park behind my house, and the air was warm in June. The weeks after were memories of wet sand and campfire smoke, and you collected me like a prize. It wasn't long before young love reincarnated to wildfire, and we spread our misery like flames through mahogany.

When I grew into myself, you grew annoyed. You had no control and you needed it. You hated my best friend, my job, and anything that took my hand away from yours. You never laughed when I was funny, and you resented me for being smarter than you. You kept me locked up like an old photo in a locket, and I was alone. 

We fought everyday, exasperated and desperate to masquerade as star crossed lovers caught in the crossfire of misfortune. We knew this charade well enough to pull it off. You blackmailed a heart that was not a possession, and you stole my spirit. You pushed and I pulled, and that look in your eye told me you were serious this time.

It hit me when I saw you put fear into your mother's eyes as your fist hit the plasterboard. You had lit the match to your darker self, and we fanned the flames. She cried, and you did too. You were not who I thought you were but I let it go on. I look back with a tightness in my chest and unkind words. I remember the way you followed me home when I left, and I remember running in every direction except yours. The night before the end, I was sat with your mother and brother, and they comforted me while you were with her. I waited for the end to come, and it did.

I remember the rest of it, too. I recall you showing up at my mother's little cafe in the quiet of the haven morning, and fleeing when you saw any face but mine. You spoke to your friends and mine, and you wouldn't leave us to die. You told our story, and saved their sympathy. We remember this differently.

You would not leave me be, or let me go. Until she came along, and lived an identical misery for another two years. Then another came, and another until each one crumbled. You live by a curse. 

I did too, for a while. You haunted me for years, like an uninvited guest snooping in the attic. My boyfriend after you had to clutch my hands through my anxiety and accept my heart hid behind a veil.  I got cold and I grew distant. I could never forget the rumble that resembled the sound of your old blue truck and the way it left ice on my skin. I was a child then, and I didn't know what I know now.   
"I can't promise what I'll do to you if you leave me." 

We were sat in your living room with the curtains drawn when you said those words to me.
What good were they though? You couldn't promise what you would do to me even when I stayed.

Those words were an echo.

For the first few days, I scrambled to come back to you. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't. I tried to manipulate the situation like you had manipulated me. I was afraid of your rough skin, of your force used to pull me in like a dog on a leash. Your control was true artistry, a skill so defined it came naturally to you. By the time I found myself, all I could taste was relief. I don't think you knew what you were like back then, and I doubt you do now. That's what makes you dangerous.

I don't talk about you, because I think you'd accept it as surrender. Maybe I should use the only words I have, because we are bound by old damages and I have stories to tell. There are some words that can't form in my mouth, and some I can't bring myself to say. I'll save them though, like change for a rainy day.

Eight years ago, I ran free.  I hear you're expecting a baby soon, and I hear that you're happy now.

These days I would bypass you without a fear behind my eyes, and I would stare on through like strange ships at sea.