She once had a boy who loved her so much it terrified her. So much, in fact, he was not a boy at all but just a mirror of all her good and none of her bad. A pool of nothing that he wanted desperately for her to fall into. Love me. Love me. Love me. But she didn’t know what to love because he had given up so much of himself in loving her. No one was worth that, she thought. No matter how beautiful or smart or funny they thought them to be. These adjectives were just projections of what the other person wanted, exacerbated lies that made a person believe in soul mates and true love.
Feeling him fall in love with her was like watching someone drown: gasping for air and only taking in salt water. Watching him fall out of love with her was much the same, only without the sweeping grace had accompanied the initial ascent of delusion. At first she felt badly for her inability to love him as much, but at the end of it – after watching him suffer with questions about forever and always and things she had no way of answering or knowing – she wanted to push him underwater, keeping him there until he was dead dead dead. She wanted nothing of this to survive.
The night she killed it for good, she was mean, awful and mean because she had to be. He egged her on with questions that became more prodding, more roundabout; increasingly begging for a maliciousness she never desired to be capable of. Arguing with him was an art of semantics and she knew it was because he wanted so desperately to keep her. His words twisted around like the roots of a banyan tree, trying to trap her, keep her, eat her alive. He said things she wasn’t sure he actually felt; he was living his life according to a script he had written in his head, a romantic drama starring Javier Bardem and an actress no one had ever heard of. He was making her hate him and this would make everything easier. And finally, after hours of wanting to punch walls or run away or take a shower or bite him savagely, she screamed, “I hate you! I hate you! Is that what you want? This is what you want?” The words burned her throat and made her hands shake. It wasn’t what he wanted but the hate would make it easier for him, too.
He was fighting for a train that had already left the station, one that he had missed by an entire day. He stood on the platform, holding a golden ticket he had created with his mind, trying to call back what had never been there.