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Mar 2014
I forgot how often you used to slip into the champagne room behind the visible spots in my irises. You would ask me to dance, and I would laugh because I had always been afraid of stepping on other people's toes. You taught me that a little pain is sometimes better than no feeling at all, and I took that to heart.

My chest has never ached more, ever since you planted that seed in the garden I had been saving for the past three thousand seventy seven days for someone I believed would come to me in the form of a prince in a gleaming pumpkin chariot. It was that afternoon eight years ago that I decided I would wait, whether it be in a tower covered in thorny vines or asleep and guarded by a dragon the size of Mars, for someone to save me from the fantasy created in my own mind. All that time relying on fairy tale love stories vanished in a moment of betrayal like an antique grandfather clock tumbling down flight after flight of stairs.

The sound was like that of a mistreated music box, like the one you gave me as a gift for our last day together, or at least one that was happy. I thought it childish then, but I suppose it was fitting from the way I regarded you unconditionally. I should have grown up faster, but you helped me through it quite effectively. I just wish you hadn't absconded from the scene with a stolen innocence you didn't deserve to have. I like to think you keep all of them, the naΓ―vitΓ©s, the wonders, the trusts you stole from girls, in glass jars lining the windowsills in your bedroom.

You never allowed me even a peek inside, after all. I always wondered what you kept in there. Sometimes I feared there was another girl, bound and gagged and rolled beneath the bed like a doll made of flesh and hair and bone that you could only take out and play with on certain occasions. Other times, I believed you were the tamer of great beasts, and housed illegal Bengal tigers and pronghorn deer in specially fabricated cages among your dresser and nightstand.

You did have a way with your words; I would know. Your voice wasn't quite poison, but tasted like peppermint schnapps on my lips and whiskey on my throat. I was afraid to taste when you first led me away from the bustle and noise of public life, but I soon became alcoholic and revered the high I was lifted into upon your smiles and the sight of your jawline silhouetted against the light of the rising sun filtered through thin white curtains on a cloudy day.

Coming down from it was a sudden and excruciating crash I haven't yet recovered from. I was left in a pile of ripped clothes and broken bones and organs that had burst with the pressure of the altitude I had just tumbled so unceremoniously from. Everything is a mess, both figuratively and literally.

I cannot take any time to clean any belongings. I dig through the growing pile of laundry in the middle of the floor sometimes, searching for any hint or whiff of you. The smell of mint and liquor, a nicotine stain from your chain of cigarettes, a rip in the hem if a shirt you liked a little too much: I would hold that bit of fabric, so irrelevant before your being entered it, with less than a memory and worship it until the smell faded, or the stain rubbed off, or the rip widened with my worrying and resembled less a bit of the scar on the edge of your thumb from when you cut yourself cooking dinner for the birthday and more like a rift in my lungs that leaves me wheezing at the slightest thought of you. An ache in my rib cage that won't go away gave away that little injury. I lost my breath in the folds of fabric a lot after you left. I'm afraid of washing any piece of clothing I wore in your presence for fear if washing any of you away.

I can't blame that compulsion on your lacking in my life, though, for I practiced this long before you even noticed me. A brush in passing, a shared glance in a crowded room, would force me to stuff that outfit out of sight in the back of my closet. I was still so afraid of your toxic smile, I would only allow myself even a quick peek at the clothes in the dead of night, when even my conscience was slumbering. Fear of insanity and of your reputation kept me safe for long enough, but I was already gone when you took initiative and approached me two hundred and sixteen days ago with a hidden offer of escape tucked behind your ear. You were exactly what I was looking for.

But now I realize I am not grateful for you saving me from myself. Although it was what I desired for longer than I have been logical, I've realized since that I have to save myself.

No longer do I keep ***** clothes on the floor. I need things to wear in my life, and I can no longer use that as an excuse to stay home mooning over a lack of even blurry pictures of you. I am no longer a lingering drunk, so I no longer stumble embarrassingly down the street as my old friends stare on sadly. I am independent and I always have been.

The only thing I can really thank you for is bringing me to realize that fact. I cannot even thank you for the adventures you took me on because you abandoned me in a trip to the atoll of islands you claimed had been your home in a past life. I had to fashion a raft out of bamboo and palm leaves and vines and reeds to escape, and on the journey home, I found a piece of myself I should have discovered long ago.

I'm starting to see that you hid it from me to keep me loyal. I can't say I hate you for that.
Written by
       MAK, ---, betterdays and ---
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