Serendipity

Was I born a masochist or did society make me this way? I demand unconditional love and complete freedom. That is why I am terrible.

179

Freedom is exhilarating, but not everyone is built for it. We’re all monsters, underneath our fragile skin and brittle bones, we hide our lies with pretty words and a well timed nod of approval. We don’t have the strength to let go when a good thing is over, so we grip tighter, tease the strain and hope for a miracle. We know miracles don’t exist, but we hope for one anyway. This hope is what kills us inside, slowly, then all at once.

Freedom comes at a price, but most of us fall into our comfort zones and forget how to leave. We get so used to holding the same hand after a while we’re not quite sure if we love that person or the familiarity of them. When we settle down we settle into someone else’s skin and it makes us weak; no person was designed to bear the pain of two living souls.

Freedom is being in control of losing control. There was always the part of me that craved danger because the feeling of losing control is so intoxicating. Life and I have a long standing suicide pact and sometimes I wish someone else would pull the trigger. But there are mornings when I wake up feeling like a new beginning, feeling like less, like I am losing myself yet I am becoming so much more in the process. The beauty and the addiction lies in the transformation, in your flesh, in your eyes, in places no one can see or touch or even imagine.

I have been alone for too long, settling into my own skin, realising all my flaws and wondering how anyone will ever love me, wondering if I will ever love anyone the way I love freedom. I’m stubborn, I drift, I indulge my own bad habits and I bore too easily. Love never felt like coming home, love never made me feel safe. Love was heartache, love was living from a suitcase, love was running, love was careless, and love never came back for me.

 

178

Somewhere in between growing up and growing old, my life became a constant struggle between who I am and who I used to be. A part of me wants to be at peace and proud of myself for making it this far because lord knows this journey hasn’t been easy, then there’s this other part that knows I could be a better person but I no longer want to be.

The crazy part of me that he wanted to tame, the wildness that never went away, that part of me wants to disappear after graduation and go on a big adventure. But the sensible, logical coward in me would stay for the financial security and stability and I am watching myself become boring, so boring. I watched the child in me plant these seeds and waited patiently all these years for the flowers to grow but now that they’re blooming, I’m the one pulling them out.

I don’t fantasize about killing myself anymore but the petty part of me is still fuming and resentful for everything that’s happened, and sometimes when the rage slips out I am shocked I could ever contain this madness in the first place. I’ve grown to love my scars and be comfortable in my own skin, and I know that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely but god I miss touching you, I miss being touched.

I don’t know who finally killed the part of me that knew how to dream, but somewhere in between growing bitter and growing cold, the magic disappeared and I’m sick of waking up to nightmares. It’s as if my mind has been ripped apart and put back together so many times, you told me what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but you forgot to mention being stronger is not the same as being whole. I will never be whole again.

177

This is how you kill someone: You don’t talk to them, you pretend they don’t exist. This is how you killed me.

10 months later and I’m still erasing your existence, throwing away things that you’ve touched, letters that I wrote for you, presents you gifted to me back when I was still your treasure and life was not so unforgiving. I thought I left you behind in that one bedroom apartment and all the memories would be kept there, but two summer flings couldn’t shake the chills you left inside this battered heart, they couldn’t steady my heartbeat.

Spring cleaning always ends with me deleting more photos, and keeping the ones I might want to look at one more time some day, just in case. The more buttons I click the more I realise that somewhere deep down I never stopped caring about you, but I no longer recognise the happy strangers in our photos. I don’t know what I’d give up to see you again and hear you say my name, tell me I’ve been dreaming, tell me I’m worth saving. Eight months ago you saw me at the back of the bar drinking myself into the corner and you said I was a fallen angel and you were too corrupt to be my home.

Five months from now I’ll probably be too busy missing you to notice the sweet boy who served his soul to me on a silver platter, and when I forget to catch him, our mistakes will finally have new collateral damage. 10 months later and I still hate hearing your name, the wounds you left never healed completely and your words still sting. I am struggling to find untouched skin that hasn’t been marked as your territory, and I’m too busy keeping the blemishes you left to let anyone else kiss me.

Ten years ago the decisions I had to make didn’t all feel like fatal mistakes, and not every step was seeped in your poison. Two months ago I thought I saw you in the streets, it was only a shadow, yet enough to make me weep. 12 months ago you began to fall out of love with me, I saw the signs before you even knew, it wasn’t the first time I’d seen love dying. 10 months later and I am your paper ghost, scratching down our hopeless stories so that some day you may grieve for who I was, who we could have been.

This is how you kill someone: You love them,  then you leave them. This is how I’ll kill you.

176

Love is just pain, darling, that’s why all my lovers hurt me.

Once your happiness becomes dependent on another soul, you’re done, do you understand that? We all fall into the trap of believing that a love like ours ought to last forever, something that feels so good should never end. But we’re not in control, not really. It’s never up to us. We like to think we’re in charge, but feelings come and go and logic has no say in the matter. You tried to convince me once that love was a choice, but baby, I’ve never been a fan of pretending.

Four years ago I asked him to come home and he told me I am incapable of love, and I believe him now. I think I may have a crooked heart. Five years ago he met a girl with a carefree smile and no scars on her body, but she lost her way and I don’t think she’s ever coming back, my darkness would swallow her whole. One minute I was his everything and the next minute, there was nothing I could do or say to fix his mistakes. He called me a mistake, so I continued his legacy.

I watch the same love stories play in repeat, and no one ever has the courage to let go till it’s too late. We all got so damn good at finding disguises and excuses. Marriage, houses, children; reasons to stay. Then sometimes a terrible thing can happen, and you find those old feelings again but they’re for someone new. Or you miss that feeling so much you try to mimic it in the shadows of others who are just as lonely. We are so desperate for love we lose ourselves in the chase. I’ve lost too much. Don’t come looking for me.

175

The first time I went to your apartment neither of us expected me to stay the night. I ran down to the convenience store and picked up a $2 toothbrush but left make-up stains all over your pillow case. When I woke up, a part of me panicked when you weren’t around, but you came back and handed me the best coffee I’d drank in months and the taste lingered long after I drained the cup.

Since you’ve been gone, I sit alone in my room, hands wrapped around myself tight, no mascara stains, no foundation masks, and I’m wondering if her skin feels the same. I wonder if she knows how to move to your rhythm, are you in sync? Does she know you hate it when she messes up your hair, does she kiss you the right way? Does she taste different or does she remind you of me anyway? Does her hair smell like girly shampoo or that strange coconut brew I left in your bathroom on purpose? Does she put bubbles in your bath, and does her laughter remind you of the ocean?

Since you’ve been gone, I’m not so picky anymore. You know, loneliness has a way of nipping that fucker right in the bud. I settle for strangers who know how to sit in comfortable silence, and when they joke about hurting me I almost wish they weren’t empty threats. These days when I think of your smile it reminds me of summer dreams and wildfire, loving you was the most exhausting fantasy. I bent and I twisted and I shed my own skin but none of it was ever good enough, I was never what you were looking for.

Since you’ve been gone, I’m trying harder to be a good person, you know I’ve always wanted to be a good person. But you and the rest of the world keep reminding how much easier it is to be selfish and mean. Cruelty is how you stayed alive, we’re both survivors, and if that’s the string that held us together why did you blame me for falling? I’m not waiting for an apology and I don’t expect anyone else to pick up these pieces. It was vanity, it was weakness, I was narcissistic enough to believe that if I unraveled in your arms you’d be kind enough to catch me. I was trying to prove a sorry point, but all you saw were tears and blood. You’re not coming back this time; there is not enough skin left for you to love me.

 

174

I miss you, in a Sunday morning don’t wanna get out of bed because I dreamed about you and I think if I keep my eyes closed, your face might come back to me again kind of way. In a Friday night staying up till 3 AM and blushing as I read screenshots of our old messages kind of way. In a wasted Saturdays writing about what we could have been kind of way.

I miss you, the way that you could make me laugh till my belly was aching, and the way that your eyebrows would scrunch up when you had to wipe my tears away because you truly couldn’t bear to see me sad.

I miss you, whether it’s hot summer days, or cold winter nights huddled next to the fireplace, nothing I do now feels as right as our first spontaneous trip to the beach. You pulled me into the freezing water and silenced my protests with a kiss. We left mismatched footprints in the sand and that was the first of many sunsets we watched together.

I miss you, your calloused hands from playing the ukelele and the way they used to graze my skin; I used to be your favourite instrument. Your smile, that god damn charming smile that made life look easy, you smiled at me like I was your reason for living. You set my world on fire with that smile and I loved the way it burned. I laughed as black smoke filled my lungs and it all crumbled to ashes.

I miss you, your uncanny ability to cook everything to perfection, your extensive knowledge on every unimportant subject I could ever imagine, and the way you simply cruised through life, without ever questioning the absurdity of our existence. You were always meant to exist in this way, you were a drifter not a doubter, and you never intended to stay.

I miss you, in a I hate your fucking guts but I still want to kiss you a thousand times kind of way. In a I don’t know whether I want to slap you in the face or push you to a wall so I can make out with you kind of way. In an embarrassingly primitive, it makes me cringe to say your name kind of way. In a you hurt me terribly but I still fucking love you kind of way.

173

It wasn’t personal.

I know, that sounds like bullshit. I know, everything is personal. But it wasn’t about you, in the end. It was just me, my broken heart, my bruised ego, my anger, my pain. You couldn’t see what I felt, and I was grateful for that. It is hard enough being sad without witnesses, I don’t think I could have survived the shame.

I was trapped under your shadow and there was no escape, no redemption. Your selfish fantasies swallowed me whole, and life began to move on without me. Have you ever experienced anything so horrifying as time passing by without you? You became the centre of my universe and gravity took its sweet toll. I was a trophy on your cabinet, and mornings were your curse. It’s hard to ignore the rainy days and the masochist in me continues to indulge in sad songs that remind me of you. But it doesn’t hurt the same now; it reminds me I’m forgetting you. The presents you bought me are scattered across the house, I pretend I don’t notice.

The sun rises even when you’re not here, and the moon is as beautiful as the first night we met. It is winter again and I’m beginning to miss your warmth, the feel of your skin pressed to mine, your hot breath, your whispers, your lies. I miss your lies the most. I wonder if you’re finally alone in the big empty house you’ve chased all your life, do the echoes make you happy? When your hair starts to look more like clouds than the sun, will you dye it? Your eyes will blur, you will need reading glasses, but you won’t be reading to me in bed anymore. Your shadows will start to look taller than you,  you’ll find yourself lacking in good company, and you will recall my words. I left you, remember? She won’t stay for you either, deep down you know this.

Your empty compliments left me exhausted, constantly chasing your praises, trying to be good enough. But now I don’t dream of the foolish boy who broke my heart and I don’t curse the universe for letting it happen. I am grateful, did you know that? You made me stronger, did you know that?

It feels so good to say I am happy now without being anxious that I will jinx it, or scared that it will be snatched away again. It is different this time. I am a sinner not a lover; I am no one’s beggar queen. I have walked through hell with a smile and endured the longest nights, the coldest memories, but damn it, he was right, there is always hope. I have found my own happiness and I intend to keep it. I have done things I’m not proud of, but pride is the enemy, pride is the mistake. I have been bent but I am not broken, I am stronger than those who knocked me down.

172

I want to be the girl with the brightest smile, the one who lights up his life. I want to start a fire in his heart and let it consume us both in the most beautiful flames. I am not a fleeting moment, not a fireworks display; I will burn slow and torrid and even his coldest memories will fade when I’m close. I have waited a long time for someone like him, men have traded their souls to the devil for a love like this.

I am not a fragile rose, easily bruised, and wilting without your care. I am the sun, the stars, the night. I’ve carved my own path in this world, my hands are rough and none of this is pretty, but every breath I take feels so good without you. You were not the end to my story, and your cruelty will not be written into my final chapter. In too many ways, I am ordinary. An ordinary girl living an ordinary life. But when I breathe, I am beautiful. When I breathe, I am starlight.

When I am gone, my bones will be here a little while longer to keep him company. My memories of our love affair will exist elsewhere, unseen, untouched, unheard, but felt. This love will show you redemption; this love will mend your regrets.

 

171

I could feel the cracks before you could see them. We kept pouring more love on top, hoping it would fill in the gaps but all it did was draw attention to the imperfections, and before long it became painfully obvious that we were not going to find a happy ending.

I told you I was tired of jumping through hoops just trying to stay sane, but you laid out all the obstacles and pretended they weren’t impossible for someone like me. I’ve learned to be selfish and enjoy the little things now. I’ve learned to say no to boys like you.

It hurt, but I never told you. I was tired of fighting to be heard, fighting for the right to feel when all around me love appeared easy. I say I want a man who will never make me cry but what lunacy! Such a man does not exist, not now, not ever. I say I want loneliness but it feels worse than crowded city seats and I envy the girl shedding tears behind her book in the corner bus stop, how wonderful to still know what sadness feels like. I say I want to be alone but truthfully I wanted you, I wanted us, together, somewhere, somehow, but I had no faith. He took the last piece, and no matter how hard you tried, you could never fill the holes in my heart. I don’t blame you.

I used to whisper I love you because I worried it would feel cheap if you heard me all the time. I wanted our children to be more like you, idealistic, hopeful, but the jaded cynic in me saw that we were never meant for do or die. The hopeless romantic in me knew that if I held your hand, I would never want to let go. The coward in me ran.

I opened another pack of cigarettes and told myself this is the last. I said the same thing last week. Two years ago every cigarette was the last. Maybe two years from now I’ll move onto cartons. I learned to shrug my shoulders when I realised it was easier than saying no, and that day I saw you do the same, I realised survival was our instinct. I knew you would be fine without me, and I will continue to survive, but please don’t assume that it was easy. Saying no to love is not easy.

Though we laugh and pretend the hard part is over, you and I both know we have been hurting for longer than we can remember. It makes no difference that sometimes when I smile I’m thinking of you, and sometimes when you smile I remember to breathe again, because you could never give me what I wanted so I had to stop trying to fit where I didn’t belong. I wanted you to stop making promises you couldn’t deliver, because words have too much power over me. You had too much power over me. But I beg you to remember the good times, because those memories are precious, even if they’re haunted.

170

this time last year
i was your lover’s ghost
it wasn’t long till your hands slipped
and when you threw me against the wall
my head cracked open
blood splattered on the musty plaster
unveiling all our flaws

this time last year
you had me down on my knees
confessing to a life of sin and tragedy
you picked me up and dusted me clean
held my hand and watched me scream
i woke up to your smiling face
and loved you an eternity

this time last year
you taught me a brilliant lie
if you want someone to stay
whisper i love you in the most sincere voice
promise to heal and make sure you take
steal their heart then cast it away
keep her in her place

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