He would call me late at night and distract me from my demons. As time went on, I began to believe that maybe he could be the one to tame them for good. We drowned ourselves in each other, suspended in a lust induced fever dream for which I never wanted to leave. The early days of any perceived romance always begins that way and we were naive enough to believe that this euphoric state could last. For those first few weeks, it felt as though twin spirits had, by some miracle, crashed into one another. That the cruel twists of fate, the heartbreaks, the despair, the mental torture we had endured had finally been for something. But alas, we’d both been broken down so many times by the ones who came before. Each of us had a black hole beneath the surface and with it, an inability to connect beyond a superficial level. Now here we were, desperately looking for a quick way to fill the voids within and we were using anyone we could find to do it.
The problem with voids is they’re bottomless and ever expanding, and his eventually swallowed me whole. His demons must have beckoned him once more because without a word, he was gone. The calls stopped and the voices of doubt and self loathing returned, this time much louder. I found myself late at night replaying our time together, searching for nuanced warnings signs that maybe I had ignored. I was lost in an emotional purgatory and my black hole was becoming a little bigger. Could I have saved myself from this? Would I have saved myself? I told myself I would have, but his affections were like a drug for which I would have hit all day given half the opportunity.
The days that followed his disappearance dragged and felt heavy, but in the early hours of the morning, I would always find myself. I would think about all the things that I didn’t like about him and unpick the tapestry of his character. He was far more fucked up than I gave him credit for and I hated that he amplified the weakest parts of my nature.
As a feeling of frantic uncertainty burned in the pit of my stomach, I took solace in convincing myself that his issues were too deep rooted to be solved and that if I ever tried to truly care for him, i’d be done for. So many times it became clear that the person he presented to the world wasn’t actually who he was. He constantly contradicted everything he claimed to stand for and what was worse; he wasn’t even self aware enough to realise it. The person I had wanted so wildly was merely an illusion; a disguise. Perhaps it was this, me seeing his mask slip, that made him retreat so swiftly. If only I could remember these breakthroughs for more than a few hours, I told myself, then maybe I could be free of his bullshit.
Dawn would break and the vicious cycle would reset. Missing him would override reason and I would argue every point that I had made to myself the night before. It felt as though no amount of rationalisation could pull me back from the edge or pull him closer to me. I hated feeling this out of control of my emotions and thoughts. The blanket of numbness I had used for so long as a coat of armour had began to lift and now all I wanted was sweet sedation. I didn’t want to face the possibility that maybe I was actually the problem, that maybe there was moments in time where I could have been more or less like myself. Was it possible that I had been showing my hand too much all along and wearing my past scars like badges of honour? No matter what I told myself, I knew the power balance was off. It felt as though I was losing some invisible battle. My friends were convinced that my feelings were purely the result of psychological warfare; a seemingly powerful woman needing to dominate a seemingly powerful man. Maybe they were right, maybe I didn’t even really care about him at all; I just needed to the victor in this particular story and not another one of his victims.
It’s 3am and I’m here again, staring down the emptiness and in need of a new vice, a new distraction. It’s been 2 weeks since he vacated and I decide it’s time to find his replacement. I pick up my phone and begin to scan the faces, quietly preying that this time I don’t let them in. That this time I can remain detached and history won’t repeat, again.