The way this one ends is with me in a not-too-sanitary club bathroom, clutching the girl he left me for, as we both cry, snot-nosed, heavy-hearted, confused.
That wasn’t meant to happen quite like that. I wasn’t meant to be those girls – you know those girls who end up tipsy and tearful in the middle of a booming, boisterous night? – but then I saw her and for some reason there was a switch we flicked in each other. He’d left us both for a friend of mine and I thought I had moved on from it. At some point, and in some ways, I had – though even I found it hard to believe that the day I realized I loved him, and wept over it before I told him, was the day that he broke up with me.
He wasn’t my first real love, or my last. But he was the first one who took my heart and clutched it in his fist, and squeezed. He squeezed until there was nothing left, then wrung it, ridding it of whatever feeling, whatever hope I had in his goodness.
I had never felt that, and it felt like a red-hot poker. Right through me. Blinding me. In every woman’s fantasy, there is a man who will break her heart and then beg to mend it again, but a lot of the time, they don’t really mean to.
I still don’t know if he was, in fact, good. I never asked; I just wrote about it and waited to heal.
Until that night when she held me, and I held her, and we tried to shed the weight of him off.
The way this one ends is in a bar. I probably need to stop going to bars.
I’d been anxious, you know? He’d seen me naked and traced the line of his love on the small of my back as we lay, bodies and souls intertwined in the space between our heartbeats. I’d written him poetry. He’d walked me home through rain-filled magic-touched evenings, holding my hand like he was holding the world in it, making me feel. They always make me feel. And now when I fall, I fall cautious, because every time I start to trip, my memory calls me back. Remember? Remember the last one? Remember what happens? Don’t forget.
I’d forgotten. I’d given completely, as much as I could and he seemed to be too, until something changed, and I never knew what. He just stopped texting. Stopped trying to see me. Stopped calling me in the middle of the night before his exam to laugh about how tired he is going to be before the exam, but talking for two hours anyway.
They never tell you. The half-hearted excuse is some tripe about a complicated personal life (you’ve seen me naked. I feel like we’re past these silly barriers), or how I need to show my affection more, or don’t get jealous enough or…fill in the blank. It doesn’t really matter to anyone but you because they’re just trying to get you off their back, aren’t they? They’ll say what they need to, and you’ll leave with nothing, and then…nothing.
I found him in a bar, and he winced when I asked to talk outside. Didn’t really look at me when he was mumbling something out, when I demanded an explanation for something that wasn’t really there. Didn’t really notice when I left.
I wrote and wrote and wrote.
This one ends because of a bar, and someone who couldn’t seem to function in one.
If he was drinking, it wasn’t going to end well, and whatever I said wasn’t going to change that. People don’t change just because they watch the tears they caused trickle down your face. So you end up being another type of those girls – the one whose boyfriend is always right in the middle of a bar fight, about to get his skull broken by an irate drunk guy because someone stepped on someone. So undeniably, unbelievably, stupid.
He was fine when he was sober. When he was sober, he was sweet. A bit of a liar, but sweet. And this time what blinded me was not the pain of goodbye, but myself. I thought it was worth the waiting for; all girls do. Until he took my ATM card and didn’t tell me about it for six months; and that’s when the unravelling begun.
We were at a barbecue of a friend of mine. So I had brought people with me – you know how that is. You have to behave, right? You would think so.
He got drunk, yelled in the car. And my memory kicked in before I tripped again – remember who you used to be? You’re not this person who gets yelled at in front of people in a car – your car. You’re not this chick YOU’RE NOT THIS CHICK AND it’s enough. It’s enough.
It was enough. And the love curdled into something sour and hateful; the thin line so easily crossed when the hairline crack is triggered.