Serendipity

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

Tag: regret

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.

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.

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.

168

It was dark, it was always dark in his room. Even in the day time, his curtains were always drawn so he could pretend that everything was at a standstill, and life wasn’t moving on without him. It’s easier to kiss strangers in the dark, it’s easier to self destruct unnoticed.

Control, that was his drug. He liked to blame the alcohol and the little white pills, but she saw right through that. He didn’t love people the way he wanted to, the way he wished he could. But he loved control. Even those who were immune to his superficial charm couldn’t ignore him, and when all eyes were on him that was when he felt most at ease. He discovered from a young age that you can get away with almost anything if you do it with enough confidence, and he knew that when everyone was looking, no one was really seeing him for what he was. She saw him, but she had turned a blind eye to his invisible crimes, she had loved him with a criminal passion.

He had built a career out of lying and cheating beautiful women into loving him, and used it to reassure himself that he wasn’t lonely, he wasn’t broken, because the one who loves less controls the relationship. The one who loves less doesn’t get hurt. He was addicted to the power he had over those silly girls, but at the same time he despised them for making it so easy. He’d send them off early in the morning before he’d even made himself a coffee. He said they were bad company, but she knew he just didn’t want the shame. It’s harder to look at them when he’s sober. It’s harder to act oblivious to the damage.

She was supposed to be one of those stupid girls, someone who didn’t matter. But she showed up with all her jokes and optimism about changing his life and it knocked the wind right out of him. He kept trying to figure her out and she kept changing every time he thought he got close to the answer. When he told her he was the devil she smiled a wicked smile and insisted she was Satan’s mistress. When he tried to scare her off with his twisted plots she asked to be his accomplice. Even with his hands wrapped around her throat, she wondered if she could still save him from himself. Even as the bruises set in, she thought she could rescue him.

When he had her pinned against the wall with nothing but whiskey breath between their lips, she couldn’t figure out why the same man who made her laugh, who had a smile that made life look easy, could also be the source of most of her nightmares. There was no shocking finale, no tearful goodbyes, she left as suddenly and as she had appeared in his life. Now he looks for her in every girl he brings home, but every kiss tastes like her shadow, every kiss is her curse.

156

I keep trying to wipe you away but every time the mirrors fog up I see the messages we used to write for each other and it seems like my heart learns how to break all over again. I was a fool to squeeze the words out of you, but now your voice plays tricks on me in the dark, and I’m still not clever enough to see you for what you are.

I keep remembering the boy who told me he was scared of loving me, and I still blame myself for not taking his fears seriously. I should have questioned what dark secrets you were desperately guarding, and why you had been alone for so long in the first place. I want to go back and tell the stupid girl that love doesn’t fix everything and point out all the warning signs. All those times I had defended you in front of friends, and pretended that anger and jealousy were your ways of showing you loved me. I walked right into the trap, right into your arms, right into the fire. Finding sleep is always a battle now and most nights I wake up wishing I could dream of you, because only  your illusions are safe to touch.

I don’t cry anymore and the last boy who tried to wound me only received an empty smile, because you can’t break a broken heart. But damn, no one ever told me that keeping new scars away doesn’t stop the old ones from hurting. I tell my friends I’m in recovery but some days I feel like I’m still sinking and the nightmares never end. Sometimes I wish I had the wisdom to drown in that lake, when we were still beautiful and you would always see me that way. I wonder if you really believed I was strong enough to rebuild a castle out of all this rubble, or if part of you enjoys watching me fall for your lies. 

I thought I could replace you with softer lips and sweeter kisses, but going home with him never did mend what was broken inside. Warm bodies never replaced the chill you left, and I was still envious of the stranger who was sharing your bed. I thought I could forget you if I learnt to lie still in the dark and fall in sync with his breathing, but I think he left early because I mumbled your name in the morning. I’m still fighting invisible monsters and all this make up doesn’t make me feel beautiful the way that you did. You made me feel beautiful once, then you whispered the same lies to a younger fool. I thought I could forgive you and I’ve tried and tried, I’m still trying not to curse your name when they ask if I’m fine. 

You thought we could be friends but I was right in the end, I’m always right in the end.

You were the fire and I was the ice. You taught me love and I showed you spite. You’ll burn the rest and I’ll melt away. You’ll love another and I’ll keep the blame.

112

Maybe one day this won’t hurt so much, and I’ll remember the good stuff, only the good stuff. But for now, I don’t know how to begin to forgive you. Maybe I want us to hate each other because I can’t bear the idea of wasting the best years of my life loving someone who won’t love me back. I’m beginning to doubt my memories, and I wonder if I invented our ambiguous intimacy simply out of loneliness. I can’t imagine you ever loved me, I only know you took such care to hurt me in memorable ways.

Maybe one day we’ll see each other again and we’ll order each other’s favourite coffees and smile because we still remember. Maybe we’ll sit down and laugh about all our mistakes. Maybe when the scars have faded I’ll be able to look at you again and you’ll still be the boy who allowed me to dream. Maybe some day we’ll both forgive each other. But for now, it’s going to hurt. I will try not to think of you, and I’m sure you’ll be better at not thinking of me. But when you do, when you think of me, you won’t remember how lovely I could be. When you hear my name it’ll be attached to pain, hate, spite, and all the things that make good men break.

Yet I’m sorry to say, if we saw each other again and you asked me whether I still cared, I’ll have to lie to hide my shame. I would laugh and say I stopped loving you a long time ago, and I never miss you at all. I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction of breaking my heart twice.

But don’t look me in the eyes, or the truth might escape.

I hate you more than anything; I love you anyway. 

111

I remember the night when I clung to you like a child and cried hopeless tears of goodbye. I was trying to tell you something but you wanted to hear something else. My words came stumbling out in an incoherent mess, spoken in the tone of emptiness and regret. I wanted you to understand that I chose you, that I didn’t give a piece, I gave you everything. I tried explaining that every time I loved someone they took a part of me when they left, and I wasn’t sure I would ever be whole again. I was terrified of losing the last part of me I still owned, but that was the very reason you couldn’t stay. People only want a slice; eat the whole cake and you’ll feel sick.

When you apologised it made me furious. When you claimed you were trying to save me from myself, I wanted to hurt you for the first time. It was indecent, easy comfort, and you were telling me lies because they sounded better. Piece by piece, I strung together the cruelest words I could find, and threw them at you in a futile attempt to prove there was no love left. I thought I could tarnish the good memories enough to erase the pain.

But now it only takes the stars to make me think about calling you. I tell myself you’re sleeping, or working, or out with your friends. I note all the possibilities that would ease the pain of hearing your voicemail except the one cold, hard truth: You don’t want to hear from me; you hate the sound of my voice.

106

I will tuck away my fond memories of what could have been, hide them in the darkest corners of my mind, far out of reach. I will wait for the pain to subside and tell myself at least I’m still alive.

I will hide the scars with long sleeves and feign a smile when summer comes and people stare. I will stare back harshly and dare them to question my integrity.

I will let you think you’re right because I can’t fight dirty, it’s too tiring and my heart can’t take anymore. I don’t want to have the last laugh, the final words, they taste too bitter.

I will go to movies with other boys and pretend I want them to kiss me when the credits roll. I will rest my head on their shoulders and they’ll think I want to be there.

I will write poems of how you kissed me and you’ll never read them. I will write stories of how we met and you won’t remember. I will keep writing till there’s nothing left.

I will find someone sweeter, and you won’t hurt me anymore. I will remember how foolish I was, to think that love was worth dying for.

101

You have to walk the road to know how long it is. You have to be lonely to realise how much you miss someone. You have to lose them to realise how much they meant to you. Life is bittersweet like that. You can give up everything, but don’t give up on happiness. You can lose everything, but don’t lose your smile. You can be uncertain, indecisive, laugh it off and start over. Laugh, and I’ll be listening.

I had to say no to your childish fantasy, because life is too unpredictable, and you’ll learn the hard way that you can’t have everything. The places we’ve seen, the roads we’ve travelled together, the view, the memories, those matter the most, but they can’t set you free. Sometimes you have to walk away to realise that mistakes make you stronger, distance makes you fonder, and pain wakes you up. Take that step, and you’ll find that happiness is just around the corner.

We hate letting go, even when we know the damage is beyond repair. I always thought the best days with you would last forever, and there was no need for us to ever be apart. That was my selfish fantasy. But we weren’t strong enough. Or maybe we didn’t really love each other. Maybe we just liked the idea of being in love.

I still cry sometimes, but that’s just part of the process. I’ll try to remember even in the worst moments, how I have been blessed. How your kisses made my scars fade and kept the demons at bay, long enough for me to remember how to fight again. How I fell in love with the boy that made me feel safe.

You say I feel more deeply than others. I hurt more deeply too, because I believe life’s too short to waste, to run away from what makes us human. I love recklessly, and I don’t regret it, because no one is perfect. I’ve tripped, I’ve fallen, I’ve been pushed by those I trust, but I still get up, and each time I walk steadier than the last.

Silence makes everything clearer. Words have run out of meaning, they can’t save us anymore. So I’ll listen to what you didn’t say, and I hope you hear me too. I’ll be okay. I’ll make it without you. I never needed you, and now I don’t want you either. You’ll never have another chance to hurt me again. The rose will die before you have a chance to make things right. Life is inconvenient like that.

I’ve carved my own path, and I’ll survive even if I have to crawl. This is not the end to my story, you are not my final chapter. In too many ways, I am ordinary. An ordinary girl living an ordinary life, if I hadn’t knocked on your door you wouldn’t have looked twice. But the way I loved you was extraordinary, and that ought to be enough. I thought we’d end in fire, but you’ve turned into ice. I know how ice can burn when you hold on… so I’m letting go.

97

We are fragile creatures, no matter how much we try to protect ourselves, it’s never enough. We build walls and put on armour to ward off dangerous imitations of love, only to find that it was all in preparation for the wrong person to come along and make us forget who we are.

You paved the path where she had planted the seed. Something so insignificant, so inconceivable, so foreign, that you almost laughed because you thought it was merely infatuation.

Then came the startling moment of clarity. She took it away, tore out the roots, and something cracked deep inside you. In that instant you’re filled with an overwhelming sense of regret and undiluted misery because you finally realise you’ve truly lost her.

She still smiles, you remember how her smile brightened the room. She smiles for others now, kinder souls that reached out a hand when you abandoned her. She smiles for herself, for knowing that despite your cruel intentions she doesn’t hate you for who you are, because she won’t allow you to tarnish her soul.

You wake up and the memories are different. To your dismay, you discover she never belonged to you, even when you were too close for comfort. You remember how she pulled away, because she was too good for you right from the start.

She prayed for you, at the church. She closed her eyes, held her breath and begged an entity she doesn’t believe in to help you understand. She prayed for you to be better. She wrote a note in the prayer jar – I wish you happiness. That’s all she ever wanted for you, even as she was breaking inside because she knew your happiness was built on her tears and blood.

She didn’t think it would happen so fast, but she doesn’t love you anymore. Not because you hurt her, not because you lied, not because you used her, but because you’re simply not worth it. She doesn’t regret all the foolish decisions she’s made in the past. She was only trying to fight for love, because she knows love is always worth fighting for. But to see what you really are, to see the monster behind the mask, it was a relief. You can hold onto to your momentoes, spoils of war. Continue to collect your trophies and display them proudly, but she’s forever out of your reach.

She won’t stoop so low to hurt you, you’re not worth her time. She will remember that she is stronger than you and all the others who doubted her, and she will forget your name.  Your selfish fantasies may have left holes in her heart, but she’ll fill in the gaps with someone sweeter. When her tears have dried she will be unbreakable, bursting with sincerity as always, and ready to love again.