Serendipity

Was I born a masochist or did society make me this way?

Tag: prose

263

There are very few opportunities in life (and in death) for you to sincerely be there for someone. We don’t like to often admit that we need other people, but sometimes we accede to our vulnerabilities. I am stubborn and immature and perhaps unreasonably angry with you for not being there, for once again, as you are so accustomed to, letting me down.

I was foolish to think your fondness for me still extended to romance, that you would in fact, drop everything, that I was worthy for you to make an exception for. I’m not sure why I believed this possible, when I had never been a priority in the past, yet there I was, still offering you unwanted chances to prove me wrong. I still dreamt of such sweet mistakes. I still wanted to believe your lies because they sounded better. I wanted to prove you loved me for once, or know that you didn’t.

But then I wake to the loneliness, to the bitter broken promises and empty regrets. You stole my heart and my time, left me with only evidence of our failures, my misplaced confidence caught on tape. Now you whisper the same sweet nothings to her, you hold her in your arms and say she’s the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen. She falls asleep by your side feeling happier than she has in months and believes every word. Nine months in and she’ll discover to her despair that you don’t even love her enough to leave the house.

Or maybe I was the curse. I was never enough for you. You were never enough for me. We are both thieves and we thrive in the chaos of unintended consequences. You never meant to fall in love with me. I never meant to take you seriously. Now I lie here missing you, wondering what might have been. If I had chosen you, maybe you would have chosen me.

255

It’s 1am and I can’t sleep. Who do I blame for that?

I feel insatiable, a bottomless pit. He gives me affection but it’s not enough. I became accustomed to the way you loved me. All smiles and sweetness, the gentle calm that would wash over me with your embrace. Sometimes I feel alone even as he holds me. Who do I blame for that?

I feel myself growing older but none the wiser, only more mediocre. Who do I blame for that?

As the days pass by and the unlikely possibility for some miracle of achievement continues to diminish, my feeble attempts to carve dreams into reality only seem to highlight how impossible they are.

I fantasise about something drastic, but a part of me rightfully carries a very grim concern that a true tragedy may not make me, it might simply break me. I have been broken before. I no longer blame him for that.

I miss him at times. Maybe it’s easier now that I know it can never be. I can forgive him for not living up to expectations that are no longer expected. We really loved each other for what it was worth. I know that still. I don’t know how to love like that again. Who do I blame for that?

You can say I love you and not mean it. I could hear it in your voice before you did. I miss falling asleep in your arms. In the mornings we were always so far apart. I was always scrambling back for cover, for warmth, for last minute affection.

Is this as good as it gets? It is enough? Should I learn to be happy? The answer to “are you happy” for me has always been “I should be”.

There is simply too much suffering happening at any given moment to even begin to comprehend, let alone be indulging in my own minor inconveniences.

But it hurts to not know what you want. As Wallace so aptly put it, “the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing”.

I watch others walk through life with such purpose and stride while I continue to fade into darkness.

254

“Happiness is the enemy. Now you have something to lose.”

I dread the day I lose you to a prettier smile, a youthful radiance no longer found in our dimly lit study. I fabricate the slow death, the agonizing ache when you must watch helplessly as your lover’s impatience outgrows their affections for you. You stay quiet and watch the threads come apart slowly, or you fight and tear it in two.

I picture your lips on her, every inch of her. How she makes you feel young again with her gaze, how easily she falls for you as I once did. How her innocence reminds you to dream, and how my heart will shatter on the day you decide to stop pretending.

I don’t know how love grows or where it goes when it runs out. But I feel a hollowness in my chest when you’re gone and a tenderness through the long nights when sleeping together feels better than anything else. The kind of love that fills you to the brim and the kind of love that terrifies me to my very core.

I find myself thinking about the others who had lost you, others who now miss you. The  few who still keep in touch, the ones who left enough of a dent for you to miss them too, even if you won’t admit it. The one that your parents liked, the one you thought you might marry. I ponder the possibility of joining their ranks and I don’t very much appreciate my chances of survival.

What does love mean to you? What does it mean when you say you love me? What is it about men that makes women feel so lonely? What is about you that leaves me always wanting?

226

I have never been very good at saying no to myself. I’ve always lacked discipline, whether it was piano lessons or that last piece of cake, I always chose the easier option. I would conveniently ‘forget’ to practice, I would eat the last piece of cake and tell myself it was better than having an eating disorder. I pretended my lack of control was something endearing, something that made me easy to be around, easily humored, easy to please.

I’ve never been good at facing reality, of accepting it at face value. Denial comes much more naturally than accepting that I could live a life dull and null of purpose, accepting that I could be just as ordinary as the people I deem to be forgettable. But no matter how much I may crave to be heard, I am just as boring as the people whose names I can’t remember, just as cruel as the people I consider despicable, and just as foolish as the people I have scorned in the past. I have been the narrator and I have been the protagonist. But that wasn’t enough, the attention seeker in me wants to play every part. I want to be the victim, the villain, the heartbroken, the heart-breaker. I want to live every life that is possible, I want to explore every avenue. I want to break all of the rules.

There is a part of me willing trade an ordinary life for an extraordinary love, a will that you cannot reciprocate. There was a time when I kissed you and felt an eternity had passed, as if I had been with you since the beginning of time and will be with you until the end. There was a time when I looked into your eyes and saw galaxies and all the forces of the universe could not tear us apart. There will come a day when I draw my last breath and your heart skips a beat when mine stops beating, and you’ll know to find me again, in the next life, or whatever comes after.

 

223

Teach me how to fall out of love again. Rewind the tapes, swallow the darkness, the lonely nights, the dinners for one and empty bottles of wine stacked up on the kitchen counter. Snuff out the scented candles, watch the roses wilt, take my pills on time but only half of the time. My head is pounding and my hands are shaky again and no phone numbers saved in favourites to call against the deafening quiet.

Delete the photos, the messages, remove the love notes stuck to the fridge by magnets I found on holiday when I was missing you. Forget the pillow talk, the sweet whispers, the smell of your hair, the way you like to run your fingers down my spine, I refuse to hear your heartbeat.

We’ll walk in opposite directions, go back to our own homes. You’ll forget the way coffee should taste and go back to spiking yours with too much sugar. I’ll go back to filling mine with too much cream and we’ll both stay unhealthy in our preferred ways only this time I won’t be there to nag you into calling me crazy.

Let go of my hand, cross the street before looking and hope today is your lucky day. Watch the leaves fall in Autumn, don’t think about our first kiss, our lips never touch, you never feel the tingle of my passionfruit lip balm. Untangle my hair from your sink, wash your sheets until you can’t remember the smell of my shampoo and throw away the over-sized shirts I used to wear to sleep.

Tell her we were no more than sweaty bodies tangled in summer nights, that it was more lust than it was ever love, that you only called me baby because you didn’t care to remember my name. Wipe away the tears I never shed for you, rip up the concert tickets we never bothered to book, throw away the ultimatums we never laid on the table, bury the happy ending that was never written. What never was will never hurt you again.

212

I heal faster but I feel less, I’ve learned how to steady my heartbeat. I don’t love as hard and my kisses don’t draw blood anymore. I know how to hurt people now, so I stay away. I know how to make them pay, so I don’t. My lips are kissed by fire but all you taste is the cold.

It’s not relapse and it’s not recovery. It’s nothing so simple but it’s not terribly complicated either. I just don’t recognise myself anymore, nor do I remember who I used to be. No one ever warned me when life alters you forever you don’t receive a memo, you never realise how important those moments are until they’re long gone. I see a stranger in the mirror.

I’m afraid I will never love anyone as much as I loved you, and the injustice of it hurts almost as much as your honesty. But we are not star struck lovers, we are not promises made under starry hot summer nights, we are not warm whispers in the dark and sweet memories. We are bruised egos and crooked hearts, we were stubborn even as we fell apart.

But you, my darling, you think this pain is unique. You think no one else has ever felt like this, felt so deeply, but we all did. You think no one has ever loved as hard as you, but we all did. You think no one could hurt this much and survive, but we all did. You think you’re alone in this world, but we’re all with you. You think this pain will haunt you forever, and you’ll never be able to erase his mistakes. But one day you’ll wake up, it might be three days from now, it might be three months, or three years. One day you’ll wake up, and he will have lost the power to wound.

208

We spent most of the night talking, filling in the silence with too much staring and kissing, finally slumbering off to sleep as the morning sneaked up on us. I woke up to him studying me with those sharp green eyes, his steady breathing, and my not so steady heartbeat. For the first time ever I was no longer counting down the minutes till I left, I was counting stars.

It is hard to remind myself that love and lust are different things, and what we feel right now is simply chemicals reacting, nothing more. I should be content in becoming a pleasant memory, something to be filed away and looked at later, when we’re oceans apart and tired of dreaming. But I want more than just the gentle gaze of an old lover. I want to feel passion, I want to feel pain. I want to scream at the sound of his name.

I tried to remember the last time I felt like this but all my memories are blurry. I remember our first kiss. It felt like home, so soft and sweet I thought I would melt in his arms. He ran his hands down my back and traced the fragments of my spine, sending shivers all through me. I have never been touched like this before.

But all this happiness feels so temporary, like we are playing with borrowed time. The question is who is willing to play the fool this time. We are treading on dangerous territory, carrying our shattered hearts in tired suitcases and trading love for stolen kisses. We are stumbling fingers in the dark, dirty whispers in the night, guilty goodbyes when morning comes.

207

The problem is the profound influence he had on me, his ideas forged me into part of who I am. I am no longer able to separate the girl I was before I met him with the woman I became after he left.

He understood me, the parts of me that even I didn’t fully understand. I had spent most of my life subliminally championing the idea that being misunderstood made me interesting, but it took him seconds to dismantle my mask. I wanted to be mysterious, but he refused to give me that courtesy. I despised intimacy, he found a way to get close anyway. We found in each other something that completed us, we loved each other when we were both unlovable. I built myself a new home with his arms wrapped around me, and I thought forever was a promise meant for keeping.

But waking up in the morning to that empty bed, all that space, I felt like I slept on needles and every piece of my skin was burning. All my mistakes came hammering down, drilling into my brain and hell is the special pain I had invited into my life, hell is knowing I am no longer permitted to speak your name.

206

he says i’m all teeth and sharp edges
and soft skin doesn’t make up for the bruises i leave in the mornings
we fight we scream we kiss and wait for the guilt to wash in
we pretend we never wanted any of this to happen
i smile so much these days my cheeks are always aching and i never tell him that i have to bite my tongue to keep in the poison
i don’t show him the bullets under my skin

i tell him purple is my favourite colour but i don’t explain the reason
he watches the bruises blend in and tells me i’m too broken
i’m fractured i’m fragments but i’m stronger at the seams
i’ve been sewed up and smashed to pieces and glued together again
so maybe i am impossible to live with but you will never see me give in

he says i’m jagged knives and sinking stones but there’s no turning back now
and still waters run deep but he’s still waiting to see me angry
we poke and prod each others wounds till we’re both raw and bleeding
he tries to kiss it better but pride always get in the way of healing
i don’t show him the hollowness in my chest

i tell him rainy days are my favourite because i get to stay in but i don’t say i miss him
he shows up on my doorstep with roses at 10pm and i yell at him for no god damn reason (i yell at him because i love him)
i ask him if my hands are steady and i play a tune that can’t be forgotten will he still remember me when his shirt has finally been washed so many times that my scent is no longer stuck to the fabric
i just wanted to be his favourite

he says i’m tired of your crying and manipulation
i didn’t fucking sign up for this (i’m sorry, i’m sorry, i’m sorry)
i laugh and laugh and laugh and it comes out in frozen stitches and silence completes the spaces he used to fill in
we pack our bags we never say goodbye and i forget our composition
i don’t tell him that i love him

205

That morning I almost blurted out the words “I love you“. I whispered it in my head and watched it drift through my mind like Autumn leaves and it filled me with dread. I don’t think you understand what this means for me. Knowing for certain that in three months or years or decades, this feeling will be replaced by something hideous and I am inviting unbearable pain into my life again.

I grabbed a cigarette from your table and opened the curtains just enough for daylight to creep through and smoke to breathe out. When you put your arm around me to light it, your presence silenced something inside me, I felt my walls shatter. I let my guard down and we shared a moment of peace that I think I’ll hold with me forever.

Baby I wish I knew how to love in a way that isn’t toxic, but when I was young and my heart was still wide open, a beautiful boy told me he adored my poison. I dug my nails deep into his skin and left marks on his shoulders to remind him that he was taken. We laughed and we loved and we filled the summer with passion but when summer was over he realised it was only infatuation, he never loved more than my skin. I made it so easy for him to walk in and out of my life, like I was always meant to be forgotten.

Then you turned and looked at me in the way every girl dreams of being looked at. Like I was the only person in this world and nobody else could compare. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t true, or that I would only ever be a secret. You made me feel like I mattered, and that was enough. That was always enough for me. But I was never enough for him, and I will never be enough for you either, not really.

Please don’t let me fall again, if you’re not ready to catch me.

202

Speeding down the highway with blaring music, letting the vibrations drown out the voices in my head. I think I might be missing you, and I scold myself for allowing this to happen. I keep wondering when I’ll outgrow these childish infatuations, but you keep pulling me closer with your lousy attempts at intimacy, and we are both getting nowhere.

It’s midnight and I’m still waiting for your call. My number flashes up on your phone with just the smallest hint of desperation. You took one glance and shook your head disapprovingly, as if scolding a child, and return to telling your joke. You don’t notice me standing in the background, with the glazed look of a woman scorned. I hear her laughter, and it turns my insides cold. Amidst this game of love and war, I vowed to never gamble my heart away, I have learned to love living more.

3 am rolls around and your whiskey soaked breath is next to mine, whispering dark fantasies not meant for daylight. I’m expected to nurse your hangover in the morning, but now I’m wide awake, nursing the terrible thoughts you’ve planted in my head. You think you might love me, but we both know I love you more. Reality is unforgiving to hopeless optimists who still believe in magic. It takes courage to bear unwavering faith, it takes a fool.

I am waiting for you to prove me wrong again.

I am begging you to prove me right instead. 

201

I am mesmerised by the idea of you. It has been too long since someone was able to capture my attention with uncompromising force, and create such a convincing illusion of instant intimacy.

I can’t remember the last time someone touched me like they were painting a masterpiece on my skin. You reached out for fragments I buried when I shed my innocence seven summers ago, and I am still trying to figure out how you saw the parts of me no one else even knew about. The bruises he left faded long ago yet I always felt their sting whenever I found myself tangled to new skin. But this time it felt different, it was the first time I’d been held by someone who made me feel clean.

I am unnerved by the image of you. I have insanity carved into my bones, I crave the cheap thrills of temporary madness, I saw a storm in your eyes and it is captivating, now I can’t bring myself to leave. You pulled me closer and I wanted you closer still, never pausing to contemplate the origins of your easy charm. You tasted like the winds of Autumn, sheltered by faint notes of tobacco, dangerously addictive. You brought back memories I thought were lost forever, and when I breathed you in, I felt like treasure again.

I am falling for your clever lies. I’m sitting here trying to recreate your crooked smile, the unmistakable smug satisfaction derived from a lifetime of privilege, of never having to hear the word ‘no’, because you are too hard to refuse. I have the unfortunate habit of forgetting that the high is never worth the low, but with you, it didn’t feel like a crime to be kissed. You brought back a side of me I forgot even existed, you make me feel whole again.

I am plotting my defences, rebuilding walls that you teared down mercilessly. I am afraid of falling in love with you, and having to watch you fall out of love with me. It is like awakening from a deep slumber, they took and took from me till I was a shell of the girl I used to be, but you’re standing at my doorstep now with flowers and promises of new beginnings. You’re drawing me close, my hands are pinned down and you whisper that I’m the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen. I look into your eyes and all I want to do is stay, stay, stay.

If you set fire to my heart, I’ll burn us both to the ground, baby. 

200

A part of her enjoyed the ambiguity, never knowing where they stand. It adds a layer of intrigue to the game, when everything is open to interpretation, anything can happen.

It is the unknown that allows us to dream, to imagine what could have been and what might still be. I am in my own sick world of fantasy, dreaming of summer highs and untouched by reality, unscathed by life’s arduous lessons, I am reborn.

We talked politics, science, religion, and I questioned his faith. Hours vanished and when I closed my eyes I no longer cared what the world thought of me. I pictured what it would be like to wake up to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat, whether it would resemble a seamless coexistence or share the bitter taste of lingering regret. I wondered what it would be like if this didn’t have to end. Whether it was a future of possibilities or merely temporary infatuation. He tells the most beautiful lies, but all good things must come to an end.

I am envious of those who sleep peacefully, unperturbed by the troublesome nature of existing, because life has been kind to them. You see fire in my eyes but I didn’t come here to ruin you, I didn’t come here to hold you either but now I can’t seem to stop. This is more than lust, more than flowers and fine words but a deviant formula, an unnatural intimacy between strangers.

When we cross the invisible line of visibility, when our clothes come off, the lights come on, and our bodies dance, I urge you to see more. I grant you the illusion that I am falling, but I am painting constellations in your lifeline and when you let go, I’ll remain volant. It is the greatest curse of the human condition, to be blessed with a kind heart and a gentle spirit; but with love on my hands, I will rewrite the ending to our story.

199

Standing at the airport again with my bags in one hand and your goodbyes clutched in the other. Life amuses all by playing tricks on us and I’m picking up the pieces where you left them, we’re alone again but this time I don’t feel lonely when I’m not holding your hand. Our story began two years ago when I fell asleep in your arms, but now I can hardy remember the last time I woke up from a dream that didn’t involve a nightmare. I saw you smiling in the light at the end of the tunnel, you whispered my name, tears streamed down my face and all was well again. No humble apologies required this time, I forgive you for all your transgressions. I remember the capacity of human error, I understand your mistakes, I am letting you go.

Remember we are all living on borrowed time, and one day these mistakes will all be erased, the world will be a better place without us. But there is darkness emanating through me, and everything I touch turns to dust, it is the curse of your love. I am caught in the labyrinth of your imagination, the inner workings and twisted mind of a madman. I am staring at the stars, searching for my origins, hoping to hear a voice of comfort or a whisper of something, someone please, remind me that I am alive, and this is more than a dream. I want to wake up.

Something inside me has been wounded, or maybe I have always been this way. Maybe the cracks were always there and you merely removed the stitches, maybe you set me free. But the higher I fly the harder I’ll fall and the fear is what drives me, it’s driving me insane. I look into your eyes hoping to find mercy, but all I see is the unforgiving cruelty of a lunatic, the remnants of a brilliant mind, clouded by depravity and sadistic intentions. You have come here to hurt me, at last. I have waited a long time for you someone like you.

 

 

198

I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted everything. For those who feel the graze of death too young, we always want more. We become too aware of the finite amount of time we have been designated, and desperately want to experience all that is possible before it’s over. I want the good, the bad, the ugly, and I ignore the consequences with a fierce determination. I refuse to test the waters, and dive right in without a care for the repercussions. I’ve always chosen all or nothing, never in between; I detest purgatory. I want so much that nothing ever feels like enough, I am insatiable in every meaning of the word. I am a sinner without remorse, I am a liar unfamiliar with guilt, I am a heart breaker and your best lover, I am the fallen.

I believe when the universe was created, when we were merely stardust, our atoms found each other once and we continue to drift back again and again, attracted to the same energy of our beginnings, and that is what makes us feel complete. But I am not searching for my better half, I am not seeking completeness, I am patiently waiting to be broken. I want to unravel in your arms, I want you to be strong enough to break me, study the shattered pieces, be the sole witness to my destruction. I need you to find beauty in my pain.

When I looked into your eyes and found traces of rage and insanity, I felt my heart beat faster and my soul begin to ache. This was it, checkmate, this is game, fatal attraction. I am drawn to a quality I can’t quantify, an aura I can’t explain, a force to be reckoned with. I love playing with fire, I cannot live without risk. But if you want to bring out the worst in me, you must prepare for carnage. If you wish to tame me, you must know how to handle me broken. If you want to be let in, I promise to make your world spin. If you plan to take control, prepare to have your reality stolen. This is not a task for the weak-minded, I demand the spirit of a champion.

But if you find yourself lost in the moment, if you feel your heart flutter in an unsettling manner, remember I am not safe to keep. If you find yourself falling for illusions, searching for answers, remember I am full of beautiful lies and nightmares that scar. If you find yourself staring into my soul and you are not afraid, you should remember that love is the most dangerous game in our universe. There may be two villains in our story, but only one will have a broken heart.