Once upon a time I fell in love. I don’t remember why. I don’t remember when.
It was a long time ago now.
Time distorts things. Memories play like videocassettes. They disintegrate like their tape inside does when it’s been played too long, on too many loops, too many times. Eventually all that can be recollected is a mashed and faded jumble of the years spent weaving aimlessly in and out of each other’s lives.
I know I hurt him. I don’t want to do that again. I don’t want to be hurt any more than I already have been. I know there was no actual committed relationship that ordinarily would have been enough to validate this deep rolling, emotional nonsense I called love. I know that. I also know that I spent years denying a feeling because of that logic. It was what it was. We were lovers, it was physical and we were friends, but then one day, it was as if one day I suddenly woke up and realized I always loved him.
I’m sorry for a lot of things. I’m sorry I ever knew him. If I could change one thing about my life I wouldn’t have asked him to catch up and play scrabble. I only just remembered that. I think that’s where it started. I should never have let it begin.
Towards and after the beginning of the end there’s so much he twisted around on me. I haven’t really forgiven that yet and I don’t think I ever will.
I was the one who spent years of my life carrying feelings for someone who never gave me any indication that I meant anything more than a plaything object to him. I understood that. I believed that he knew that I loved him. I believed he knew that I understood it was never going to evolve because that was what he wanted. His wants mattered then because I loved him. Over the course of time, I fell in love with having feelings like I did for someone who didn’t want anything from me. I couldn’t disappoint him. I could have other partners, other relationships. I was under no obligation to commit and he never held me accountable. I came to expect the “I don’t want a relationship” text or the random ghosting because time and time again that was what he did. He did it year after year, time and time again.
Towards the end of the second act of a horror movie is about the time the bad guys should start closing in. It was as obvious as night is dark when he told me I was his archenemy, that I manipulated men into falling in love that we had a problem and still after a few months I came back for more. I should have seen the signs when things started to turn but I’m such an expert at denying if I was a superhero I’d be The Deny-er. He could be The Blamer or The Deflector depending on the day.
I’m ashamed to admit that I returned from archenemy-gate pressuring him into having sex with me. When he said no because “it hurt too much” I pretended like I’d never heard the words. I knew what they meant. I didn’t want to believe that which frightened me. I still think he said “I love you” on the last night I actually saw him, but I pretended not to hear it. I remember hearing what sounded like those words and acting like I didn’t. I remember telling myself I must have misheard.
I like kinky sex. I liked sex with him. He was always so passionate and fun and open in the bedroom, I loved how this boyish cute thing with the awkward mannerisms and sweetest eyes could turn into the sexiest man I ever saw, heard or felt on a dime. I loved playing with him. It always felt like play. I wanted to be his cute little slave, and then his cute little submissive toy. I liked to please him. I liked the fantasy. I liked to see and hear him powerful and in charge and satisfied. I loved it all the way up until reality started creeping in.
He started bringing reality into the fantasy. I can’t pretend to know what he meant or what he felt but it was as if he started using his power in the bedroom as a means to secure the type of relationship we never had. I don’t know if he meant to but it scared me. I didn’t know how to address it. I didn’t know how to take it. I didn’t know how to not blame myself. Even when I felt that he was really just using his power in the arrangement to abuse me sexually, psychologically and emotionally as a form of punishment, I didn’t want to.
I couldn’t psychologically manage what was happening. I needed him to reassure me that’s not was he was doing or I needed it to stop. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him to make it stop. I tried to make several gestures towards giving him some sort of commitment to advance because I thought that giving him what he seemed to want would stop him from being so horrible to me. I got it all wrong because when I made a gesture he went completely ballistic and ended things for the final time.
He told me it was just sex when he ended ten years of knowing each other on the phone.. He was so angry at the time, I got hardly any words in and he never seemed to simmer down. I needed closure. I needed clarity because it didn’t make sense. I was direct.
I felt two sharp pains in my heart in my lifetime. The first time was when he interrogated me while having sex with me and didn’t stop. The second time was when he screamed words at me in response to my asking if the reason it never worked is because he never cared about me. I meant love. I regret replacing the word love with the word care. I meant to say love.
I asked the love of my life who seemed to become so frustrated with or lost so much respect for me that he borderline raped me – a word I can’t easily say out loud – if he loved me – the word I couldn’t say out loud at the time. He answered with more attacks. He asked me how I could pretend to be so innocent and so naïve. That is what he thought of my feelings of love? That is what he thought of my wanting to know if someone I once loved, loved me too? I wondered like I wonder now why he couldn’t just let me down gently. I often wonder why he was so righteous with so much wrong.
I lost it. I lost all control over my actions, feelings and words. I lost me. . It was obvious. I turned to anything and everything to cope and recover. It only made it all so much worse. All the drugs that had once been my sunshine turned to darkness. I lost control over addiction. I let drugs destroy what was left of me after he had his go. This and more is what happened to me as a consequence of asking a man to play scrabble many, many years ago.
And for all the years that served me no credit and only garnered too much abuse for me to keep my sanity in tact I sent him thousands and thousands of messages. I needed to get through to him. I didn’t need him back. I needed to get through to him all that I’ve tried to convey in this letter. And for all my attempts I was only ever abused more. I’ve heard him say more bad about me than I ever thought possible. I’ve been verbally attacked through pleas and cries to my very core. I’ve been blamed. I’ve been accused. I’ve been ridiculed. I needed a non-combative in person conversation to clarify all that I needed to know in order to move on in a healthy positive direction. I needed to be understood and to understand something I will never understand. In all that time, all those minutes, hours, days and months spent both attacking and being under attack, all it would have taken was an hour or so of his time for me to move on.
This is a letter I’ll never send that he will never read. And though I will never again make contact, I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to live happily ever after. I sure as shit hope so.