“There was a relationship, a friendship, that I was in that was really affecting me mentally, emotionally, and draining me and making me not like myself very much….”-Brooklyn Rae
“Another Love / Hate Unsent Letter”
Fiction. Based on a True Confession.
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
When I think about cheating on someone, it’s always with you. I never seek you out. It’s just in dreams. Or I imagine it’s you and not them. When you and I are together I don’t think about cheating. Because you and I are never together long enough. I run away quickly. And fall in real love somewhere else. Years into that love I start having the dreams again. About you. Somehow that’s all the breadcrumbs you need. The dreams lead you to me.
I never do cheat. Don’t seek someone else out. Instead, I suffer in my relationship until it’s absolute ash in my hands. All the while the dreams are linking you back to me. So by the time a fire has started you’re around the corner waiting for the ashes to fall.
That’s how it’s always been.
You know you’re the only one that gave me constant, consistent physical attention. In my current relationship I’m the one to brush the hair away, rub the back and hold the waist. In my previous relationship the same was true. You’re the only one that brushed my hair out of my face. Or kissed the back of my neck. Or held on too tightly to my side.
I’ll never go back to you. No matter how many dreams hold onto the seams of my memories. No amount of remembering can erase your crimes.
At 15 you promised never to hurt me. You were supposed to be my first real kiss too. I’d tricked my godparents into going shopping where you told me to meet you. But you didn’t show up. Weeks later I found out it was because you’d chosen a girl with a car name instead. So I took scissors and excavated you from my life right then and there.
A few years later I was laying on my mother’s bed. I was so sick with the flu. So sick I called my mother for the first time in over a year since graduating high school and moving out. You messaged me on social media and told me how wrong you’d been to pick car girl over me. Somehow, in a fever haze of vomit, I was convinced. That moment started an on and off again affair for five years.
I set a few relationships on fire for you, and those dreams of you. Instead of pouring water on the embers I blew into them until they caught. Passively tending to the flames until those relationships were all consumed, then I’d lay down in your arms. Wherever they may be. Even our first trial relationship, when I let you live with me, before I knew about the meth, something told me to be apprehensive. Wait for the other shoe to drop.
Four years since your promise to never hurt me and you’d already proven how good at breaking that promise you were. As a 19 yr old I just didn’t care. I was so willing to let you hurt me again. And God did you. Literal scars aside, your secret drug addiction nearly striped the goodness out of me. If you’d come clean and told me I probably would have ride or die stuck by you. Got you clean, kept you home with me. Done anything for you. But you lied.
The second time I allowed you back into my life was due to my heart already having so much shrapnel in it I figured your weapons couldn’t inflict any more damage. Again, you proved me wrong. Your roommates used to watch me get undressed, did you know that? They’d pause their video games when we had sex. I noticed, but pretty sure you didn’t. And yet, five years after the first time we had sex I still dream about it. I am not proud that I still dream about it. Dream does not mean fantasize. What I mean is, when I fall asleep my unconscious brain brings back memories of having intercourse with you. Memories and dreams have a strange relationship, so those dreams mutate memories into something prettier than their reality.
The reason we split this time was because I had a miscarriage. You didn’t even know I was pregnant. I didn’t want you to know. Because I didn’t want to be. We honest to God went one day speaking and seeing each other and planning. To the very next day nothing. Black hole, obsidian. Gone Girl style I evaporated for over a year.
When I was pregnant, that time, I didn’t take a test. Or go to the doctor. I didn’t have to. My menstruation stopped for 3 months. I know I miscarried though. Because I was at work and a terrible pain, then the Shining blood. My boss threatened to call an ambulance. But instead I ran to a Planned Parenthood. A stranger held me tight as I sobbed on a toilet. She asked if the father knew, or if there was anyone for me to call. I shook my head and continued to sob and sob. I didn’t plan on disappearing from you. After spending days in bed, not speaking to anyone, it got easier and easier to simply erase you from me.
I don’t remember exactly what brought you back again, for a third time. I remember resenting my girlfriend at the time. A lot. She made me feel small. And then suddenly you were back. That third time around was the undoing of me, of who I was. I remember having sex with you on the living room floor of my apartment and then quickly ushering you out before anyone came home. I remember going to my friend’s house that weekend, something I did every weekend to see her son and get away from my girlfriend.
But that weekend I finally decided to leave the girlfriend. My friend drove me back to the city and I literally packed all of my belongings into her car while you stood and watched. Do you remember that? Do you remember always standing by the side of an idling car, watching me put my life inside it?
I think I lived with that friend for damn near six months. Long enough to help her care for her son, hold her legs while she gave birth, coach her through her divorce, and fail a quarter of school. That whole time I was living there, I saw you intermittently. Things went downhill with my friend, and instead of talking through it or trying to work it out, I pretended to want to be married to you. Went to the courthouse, spent the money on matching tattoos instead. Convinced some poor single mom to let us rent her basement because we’d be a consistent, stable and respectful roommate. It was during those meetings at the coffee shop, for her to get to trust us, I was secretly rekindling other relationships and friendships unbeknownst to you.
I had reconnected with another man I would have sex with for a place to sleep. Also, reconnected with my best friend. You remember, the one I shared a bedroom with. She was the best friend I’d ever had. We wrote stories and shared them in that bed. It was never, ever sexual. It was kinship on a deep, unwavering level. She stood up for me when I would have sooner doused myself in fire. She’d also refill my coffee mug with vodka if that’s what the night required. Of everything I miss…that time with her are my most precious memories.
So, while you were unpacking my boxes labeled “kitchen” I was silently sobbing and messaging her to help me get out. I spent one night in the only place that ever had our names on the lease. That’s right, out of five plus years we had one place with our names attached to it. You stayed for a few months, had your grandparents help you pay the rent. Because I’d disappeared, again. Sleeping on your mattress one night, imagining a lifetime was all it took for me to run, run, run, run.
I imagine you were pretty surprised to get my call that fateful night. We hadn’t stopped talking after I left you in our basement apartment. In fact, we still saw each other irregularly while I did whatever I did back then. Honestly, I don’t even remember you being angry that I left again. More resolved, probably, to see me behaving as I always did. Never did you reject me. With all my running, you never turned me away. You’d hear my reasons, excuses and still open your arms and love …take me back anyway. What does that mean?
But that night, the night I had wrecked someone else’s car, I called you sobbing. You were the only person close enough… Came in a whirlwind and drove that car back to it’s home. Brought me alcohol and marijuana. And this is the moment when our unspoken rules shattered. Once everything was settled, once I’d called the owner of the car and told her what happened, once I finished my joint and was ready to finally sleep, you walked up the stairs with me.
But I told you no. Not tonight. Please not tonight. The one time in the millennia that we shared together I told you “no” once. That night. Maybe you never got angry about me leaving because I was always complicit in our sins. Not that night. And that is the one time you took what you wanted, especially since I’d said “no”.
I broke our unspoken bond. So did you.
I was recounting these events last night to my sister. And she said it was a hard time for her because I wouldn’t talk to her. I wasn’t acting like myself and she didn’t know how to help or how to even get to me. She said she would look at social media in the years following. And what she saw confused her. I realized then, it confused me too. When we went to the courthouse to get married, the only reason we didn’t is because we’d brought the wrong amount of money. Imagine if we’d had the right amount of money? Doesn’t matter anymore. Because whatever you motive was for ignoring my first time no, you severed our bond. You broke that teenage, naive promise for the last time.
You’ve been breaking that promise since the beginning. I just never saw it because I wanted it to be you so bad.
Each day, I am discovering, the less of a secret you become, the less you exist. The more I write, and share with people who can hold these truths safe, the less I think about you. The less you come up in my day-to-day life. Exposing you is expelling you. The only thing I have left to say is… I am sorry. I know I hurt you, probably just as much as you hurt me. There is no rank in that kind of destruction. However, I am breaking the cycle. This time there will never be a next time.