The lid to hell opened, and suddenly, you appeared. You looked so beautiful, because that’s how everything and everyone looks like in hell ~ beautiful. We collided. In a most breath-taking and explosive way. It tasted of piquant, wrapped in a droplet of nectar. Maniacally, we plunged into one another. Our union, so fierce and forceful, made the ground around us shake. My soul, it flew from my lips before I even realized you’d captured it. You felt to me like a distant star, one which no longer existed in the present. I hoped to defy science, hoped that if I loved you more and better, you would exist.
I loved you from the very beginning, from the time I first heard your voice. You’d called, looking for your brother. The two of you had to deal with the business of settling your father’s estate. I heard a tenderness in your voice, a certain vulnerability which grabbed hold of me and never really let go. Those early days, filled with denial, feel millions of light years away from me now. I don’t know why I loved you. I tell myself it had everything to do with the man I married, your brother, and the strong, abstract likeness between the two of you. Looking back, I do not feel certain. I just know that so much denial coated my love for you, that I’d laugh it off as some kind of hilarious fantasy.
Does any of that matter, now? I wonder. I don’t suppose it does. And I don’t feel at all certain what to think about it. Even as I write this I only want to press the backspace button and erase all these words from the screen. As if it were so easy to erase the history, our history. As if it were so easy to erase you from my heart. I think of you still, you know, of the wildfires blazing in those amber eyes of yours, of how they both frightened and dazzled me; of your terrifying, paralyzing rage, your intoxicating passion, and of the two of them, bound together so tightly I could scarcely discern one from the other. And I think of you still, sometimes forgetting how I suffocated under the weight of your fury, sometimes still believing that I could make it all better somehow, if only I transformed myself into a better person.
I find myself stuck in this story ~ our story. And then I ask myself, was it ever really our story, or was it just my story? Does that matter? I don’t know. At any rate, I have trouble moving past you, and feel a pinch of sadness at the fact that you still occupy such a large space in my heart, and at the fact that loving you cost me so very dearly. I wonder where I might find you, and can’t help but think of you on those exceedingly rare occasions when I see your brother. I see so much of each of you in the other. So much so that sometimes I feel as though I must be mad, mad as a hatter.
Have you moved on? Was there ever anything for you to move on from? Do you think of me? And why should that matter so much to me? Did you ever hurt as much as I did? It’s important to me that you did and, perhaps, still do. Or should I believe your brother when he tells me that I was just a pawn in a competition between two brothers? I’ve kept your pictures in my phone and find myself gazing upon them from time to time. Yes, still. I find I cannot erase them; I find I cannot erase you. Not yet, I tell myself, not yet. When, then? I don’t know. Ever? I don’t know.
I loved to watch you, watch you so intently that you told me to stop or my eyes would wear out. Still, I found myself unable to remove my gaze from you. I felt so insecure, so unsure about your presence, as though you would vanish at less than a moment’s notice. And you did. At less than a moment’s notice, you did. Despite my pleas, you did. Despite the fact that it drove me to madness and beyond, you did. So I’d watch you while you were near, to convince myself of your real-ness, and to stock up on mental images of you, for the times when you finally removed yourself from me.
For a long time I saw loving you as my true-life path, revealed. Looking back I now see this as a symptom of a problem in my marriage and also in my psyche. I made you into something so much bigger than your actual self; I made you into my soul mate, my one true thing, my forever lover. I placed all my happiness in you, made you the centre of my heart, soul and universe, the cornerstone of my existence.
I breathed and tasted you. I could not stand even the smallest time apart from you. I remember this one particular weekend, you wanted to drive to the caravan, located in a neighbouring county – at least an hour’s drive from the flat we shared, and spend the weekend working on your divorce proceedings. It would mean 3 days and nights, on my own, away from you, and I felt like I would die without you, like time apart from you would plunge me into a vacuum, hollow me out.
You wanted some space and time to yourself, to process the very sudden and acrimonious end to your marriage; and I, feeling like the emotional version of Swiss cheese, wanted to fill every one of my emotional holes with you, my drug. That meant I wanted, no, needed, a constant audience from you, the whole of my social network, the only person I knew in the entire country. I could not give you the space and time you needed, for fear that this would erase me.
And I remember countless occasions when you would leave me, a punishment of sorts for what you referred to as all the so-called foolish, naughty and evil things I did. ‘I’ve had it. I’ve just had it,’ you’d shout, ‘I’m going for a walk!’ And you’d walk out the door, never saying where you intended on going or when you’d return. I felt frightened when you went away, and I didn’t know when you would return or where you went. I did not much like my own company. I hated being alone, left to my own devices. And so I got down on my knees and begged you not to go. And then you’d always look down upon me with a perfect disgust. The sneer you wore on your face has carved itself into my memory; I shall never forget the reflection of my desperation which I glimpsed upon your face.
As time passed, I learned to stop begging you to stay, to stop asking where you intended on going and when you’d return. Anything, I’d do anything, if it meant quelling your anger. You see, I only wanted to please you, so you would want me, so you would allow me to stay, and so I could keep you. Still, all this left me feeling damaged, like some kind of worthless car wreck; a write-off. Or a crumpled up piece of paper, sitting at the bottom of the bin, forgotten. Forgotten. Have you forgotten? Because I have not. When I catch myself thinking of you, I ask myself, was that Dangerous Angel real? And then I feel a familiar ache, the ache of scars not quite healed. And I tell myself the purpose of scars: to remind us that the past was, indeed, real. Here they are, my Dangerous Angel. Come, have a glimpse a my scars. Taste them. Touch them. They belong to me, and you can never, ever, take them away from me. Ever.