I remember the shirt I was wearing when I first spoke to him, the way his shitty headphones felt pressed up against my ears (oh how blessed was the day his parents purchased a pair of earbuds for us to share), and then there was his laughter…the way he would pretend to stifle it, only for the after effect to be all the more explosive.
It always seemed that his raw brain power could exceed my wildest imagination. His intelligence was unstoppable. His creativity was more than I could comprehend; the way characters, stories, and scripts would pour from him like water rushing through a broken levee. The only thing more limitless than these was my love of them. My love for him and our friendship was essentially the pi of my soul, infinite and irrational.
He knew me in ways I cannot even explain; in ways I didn’t know myself. Even at my worst, my absolute worst, all he ever saw was a bird with a broken wing; a little philosophical duct tape and he could make me good as new. He never did want me to fully heal though. Never wanted me to fly too high or too far; never out of sight. Sure, it’d be fine for me to stretch my wings now and again, as long as I wound up safely locked away in my gilded cage at night.
Is that where it went wrong, so horribly, horribly wrong? There was the night I didn’t return, but instead decided to see what was on the other side of the moon. Certainly, it appears to have hurt him, but never did I realize the extent to which he felt betrayed. Betrayed and emboldened, he exacted his punishment. Was it the way he imagined it would be? I can’t imagine that it was, but maybe he always knew this was the only way it could ever be. Not only did I pay the price of scorning his desires, he made sure that I served as an example to the others. My shame fulfilled a purpose, delivered a message…cross not this line, or this love of yours shall surely perish next.
So, I left. I left the house. I left him. I left my life behind. And. It. Was. Ugly.
It would be equal parts bold and laughable to say that I didn’t need him. At that time and place, in ways I couldn’t fully understand or appreciate, I needed him…and he knew that all too well.
Months passed with silence that bruised arms and egos alike. As other from that time and place may remember, eventually, I sought him out. I begged fr his forgiveness and in the same breath forgave him without apology. We were better than ever. Entire years passed in which he was the only person who brought me joy; uncompromising, unyielding, unapologetic joy. Most of those years, he was the only one who even bothered.
Throughout those years, I repaid him in spades… for the pats on the back, the shoulder to cry on, the reassuring smiles…but not in the currency he wanted most. Little did I know, he had every intention of cashing in at the most opportune moment. He never really got his chance, but not for lack of trying. That was his downfall in the end; that effort, the palpable level of entitlement that oozed out of every expectant pore and left behind prints with each uninvited touch. He became impatient and overly confident; sloppy with his poor attempts at subtlety. That’s when I saw it, so blindingly, like waking up from a coma and having that halogen light suffocate my delicate pupils.
So, I left. I left the apartment. I left him. I left my life behind. And. It. Was. Fine.
Turns out, I don’t need him anymore. Here, now, and forevermore. I don’t fucking need him and now, he knows it. In ways that he can’t fully understand or appreciate, I don’t need him anymore.
I left without saying goodbye and I don’t regret it. When he messaged me weeks later to ask what my problem was and why I was upset with him, I said that I couldn’t talk about it yet. I wrote back that I would explain when I’d had time to calm down. This month marks 4 years since I sent that text.
I’ve spent these last few years thinking of him, thinking of us, and wondering why it couldn’t have gone differently. I don’t know if I’ll ever meet someone like him again and I very much doubt that I’ll ever have what I had with him, with anyone else. I’m ok with that…matter of fact, I’m relieved by it.
The fact of the matter is, I’ll never be able to hate him in the ways that he deserves, just as he was never able to love me in the ways that I deserve.