The One That Got Away
When you've lived a life like mine every day can become a challenge. One day at a time I suppose, or at least that's what they keep telling me. It's been 134 days since I've seen him, my world, my all, my one true love. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't miss him or think about him often. Not a day goes by that I don't remember what it was like with him. So if you ask me when the last time I did something challenging was, I will tell you it was the day I let my one true love go.
Some of you will never get to experience this type of love. Which, to be honest, is for the best because in the end a love like that does more harm than good. When he breaks you, and he will break you, the damage will be beyond repair. His presence haunts me. I can still smell him. His strong scent is unmistakable; like that of gasoline or sour milk. The pungent aroma hits your nose like sniffing a line of ground pepper that burns going down your throat. When it's over you're left with a foul taste in your mouth for what feels like eternity. I know he's no good for me, and I know he's disgusting. But still I yearn for him. How quickly I forget these things when I think of him now.
I remember when our love affair started. I had just had my heartbroken by a guy I really thought I loved. The pain was unbearable. “If you love someone let them go.” they always told me. But does anyone who says that really know how hard that is? It's like them asking you to perform open heart surgery, on yourself, standing up, in front of a mirror. Then it gets to a point, where out of desperation you find yourself, standing in front of a mirror, with a marker in one hand and a table of surgical tools at your side. I put the cold knife up to my chest and pressed it against the dotted line I had drawn on my bare skin just moments before, and just as I began cutting into my skin, he showed up.
His love was unlike anything I had ever felt. The kind of love that could pull you from a burning car to save your life. At a time when I was on the verge of giving up, he came to me. His warm embrace would sooth my sadness, ease my pain. An embrace so warm that it could start a fire in the middle of a violent blizzard and stay lit in the middle of the ocean. I found such comfort in knowing that even in the darkest of days, he'd be there, shining a light. It was as if nothing else mattered anymore. My world began to revolve around him.
We went everywhere together; and on those rare occasions we didn't show up together, I didn't worry. I knew when I got there he'd already be there, waiting for me. Probably all dressed up in black; damn near impossible to resist. Didn't matter how many times I'd seen him, wearing the exact same thing; I always got a little excited. Especially when he'd start to sweat, despite his horrible smell. Nothing made me desire him more than when I'd look over at him and a single bead of sweat had begun to slowly drip down his neck; I needed him. I wasn't the only one. He was the object of many people's affection, I knew that, would've been foolish to assume otherwise. Normally, this would bother me, but given the circumstances, I knew I didn't have a choice and my need for him far exceeded my need to be the only one. He was no good for me but it was too late. I let things go to far. He had consumed me just as much as I consumed him.
Like many love affairs, our relationship began to grow cold, I began to grow bored. His love was not enough, I needed more. I began exploring other options, hoping that one of them would be able to make me feel as he did in the beginning. I yearned for that feeling so bad; I became desperate. It wasn't long before I began involving his friends into our affairs, but this only made my need stronger. Everyone saw it; everyone but me. Why didn't they tell me? I often asked myself. If they did, would I have even listened? Probably not. He was going to lead me into an untimely demise, him and all his friends. I became powerless. Powerless against the vice like grip he had on me. No longer was able to hide my shame, my defeat, my desperation.
It took him less than one year to tear down what I'd spent years building up. I lost everything. At some point I didn't even know who I was anymore. The aching hole in my heart combined with my guilt, shame and embarrassment I felt, became unbearable. I'd let my entire life slip through the cracks and into my glass. And just like that, it was gone. Gone before it could even melt the ice. How I missed my life before him. I would've given anything for it back. But I knew it'd never be the same. I had to just accept it, accept the monster I had become; there was no escaping it.
I had just about given up and then I felt it. That little strand of hope that had been hiding in the back of my mind was dangling right in front of my face. It tickled my nose as the faint wind pushed it around, much like that of a feather or the loose fur of a long haired cat. It was there only briefly before that same wind blew it away, but it was enough. I suddenly remembered all that I had given up for him. Clouded memories of the things I had walked away from became vividly clear, I realized what I'd done. Tears streamed down my face and crashed onto the ground like a hole in a well built damn, and the weight of my sorrow brought me to my knees. It was in this moment that I knew change was possible, or so I thought. I needed him, now more than ever.
As I sat there, wallowing in the misery of my life, I begun to realize that it wasn't that he made me feel good; it was that he made me numb, and that was just as gratifying. Everything inside of me was mangled and torn to pieces. Whatever was left in tact needed to be preserved and protected if I was to survive. So once again I built my wall, this one stronger than the last. That wall had been torn down so many times that it was hard to tell it's pieces from the pieces of my broken heart. The only pieces that were the slightest bit recognizable were the tiny pieces of my mind. Like shards of shattered glass, they glistened; even the dimmest of light would bounce of them and reflect against the darkness that was my soul. I couldn't afford to lose anymore of myself and if I was to avoid anymore sadness I would have to give up joy. Numb was the only option.
Despite everything, I continued to see him, sometimes his friends too. It felt different, I felt different, I felt. All the numbness he coated me with was no longer working. Panic and anxiety rushed over me. Suddenly I felt like the ninth inning batter, full count and a tied score. There was nothing anyone or anything could do to help me through this, it was all riding on me. The only way I was going to win was if I knocked the ball out of the park; if I didn't, I'd lose the game. My entire team was counting on me, depending on me to lead them to victory. How was I going to live with myself if I let them down; again? The only option I had was to pick up my bat and swing.
Life gives us very few true “fight or flight” moments. How we chose will define the next chapter in our life. I knew that if I didn't take that swing I would regret forever. My heart began pounding and my hands started to sweat. I couldn't help but worry that the bat was going to slip from my hands after I swing; all I could hope for is that no one gets hurt. Even if I struck out, I knew that they would see my efforts and I found comfort in that. I took a deep breathe, mounted the plate and lifted my bat. Once again, I felt it, that little strand of hope. Only this time it wasn't so little, and with it were strands of confidence and fixed determination to succeed. I watched the ball as it flew towards me at blazing speed and without hesitation I swung – crack. The bat cracked and the ball flew, far. Victory had become mine. Everything changed that day. No longer would I be controlled by the man all dressed up in black; he was going to have to find another victim. Shouldn't be hard for him, after all, he is Jack Daniels. People everywhere line up for the opportunity to be in his presence; he won't even notice that I'm gone.