The soft glow of the lamp did nothing to take the glare off of the harsh reality. I turned off the light and covered my eyes with a dream. Many nights had been spent in just this fashion; A snippet of a memory, a fragment of a dream, and a glimmer of hope. I allowed myself only enough to make the night passable in order to make another day possible. And it had.
"You don't watch the news. This is why we always had problems. You don't see what's going on in the world and you don't understand how it will impact me. You don't care. Maybe you should write about that. Your writing is a joke. Write about something meaningful for a change. What do you think of what's going on in the Middle East right now? You probably don't even know. Just like the rest of the "sheeple", you just follow along blindly waiting for your next cue to perform whatever function you have been told to serve."
I watched as more messages filled my inbox, blinking and sounding an alert with each assault. Tears stung my eyes and spilled down my cheeks burning a path through the morning's carefully applied makeup. Days upon weeks upon months of tension pulled my chest tight. The tears, which had always managed to serve as a release valve, did not ease the sick feeling that threatened to tear me down. I began to shake, perhaps out of fear or something worse. Bile rose in my throat and I choked it back, swallowing it down like I did with the insults, hurt, and shame.
"Please, just stop. I have tried so many times in so many ways to make you understand that I can't talk to you about this. You've become obsessive. You are pushing away everyone that loves you and you need to get help. I can't do this anymore." I wanted to scream it, to make him see my tears and what had become of me. "You are making me a horrible person and the worst part is that I am allowing you to make me hate myself and everything around me. This is not who I am." But, like a child who hugs their knees and rocks to sleep with the sound of screaming parents in the background, I couldn't speak. Impotence. Emotional paralysis.
For so long I had held on to the thread of what had once been love. Romance had long since faded into tenuous friendship. Whether it be out of habit or obligation, we continued to reach out. Each exchange more toxic than the last, until a breaking point was reached. The inevitable, "I'm sorry. You're the sweetest. I love you." messages patched a growing tear in the fabric of a heart. The problem with a patch is that it only works if the patch is larger than the hole and is only as strong as the material at the edges it attaches too. Mine was threadbare and translucent in places.
He had once been kind. There had been love. It had been genuine. Somewhere inside I held on to those things even while I distanced myself. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of the man I had fallen in love with. He was broken in some way, but aren't we all? Doesn't everyone deserve a friend? At the end of the day, don't all people need someone to hold their hand and tell them it's going to be okay? What if I were the only person he had left? What if he wasn't safe? If something happened, who would hold him and make it okay?
It wouldn't be me. I untied myself from his whipping post and walked away.