To the girl I could love, but won’t.
You wake in the middle of the night sometimes to go cry in the bathroom and you think I don’t hear it but I do. I can’t apologize enough for all of those things the men who came before me did to you. I wish I could promise that it will be different this time, but it won’t. I will leave you, too.
You once told me that you are in love with me but that I shouldn’t let it go to my head because you are also in love with a pigeon that sleeps on your balcony. You say that since the pigeon moved in you have stopped having nightmares. How can I compete with that?
I can’t make you happy and that daily defeat is wearing me down. You have sandpaper lips and with every kiss I feel another little piece of myself being rubbed away. I feel myself drifting further with every “I’m fine” and every “forget about it”. With every sigh. With every passive aggression. With every sleepless night spent talking you out of whatever anxiety- laden hole you have crawled into this time.
I will admit that, of course, I found it all fascinating at first. It was a turn on to feel you trembling as you lay clinging to my chest, slick with sweat and tears.The sex was always the best after a breakdown. I would take you quickly and you would wrap your legs around my waist and dig your nails into my back leaving red etches deep into my shoulder blades. When you yanked my hair and pulled me to your lips, begging me not to leave you as I came, I felt powerful. It felt like something out of a movie.
I thought I loved you at first but it wasn’t love. It was the idea of you I loved. The image of you, in black and white, of the sad, scrawny girl with bitten nails and unwashed hair that I had created long before I met you. If only I had really listened. If only I had heard the raw desperation in your voice. The very real despair. The genuine fear.
But it’s too late now and I can’t make the nightmares go away. I can’t help you sleep. I will soon become one more reason to cry at night. One more thing to be afraid of. One more nightmare. One more memory that will make you even harder to love when I’m gone.