I wouldn’t call you Romeo just as I wouldn’t call myself Juliet. Though their story does end in tears as well, I feel that our tale lies closer to a different tragedy. One with a young girl so warned away from a careless prince. One where the girl pretended to take the words to heart but truly did not listen. One where the girl went mad from a broken heart, smashed to pieces by the man who claimed to care for it. You were my Hamlet and I was your Ophelia.
I’m writing this, but as I do, I feel that it is essential you know that I am not truly alive. For something inside me died when you left. I would call it something close to my hope for humanity. All I see is the way the human race hurts each other and we don’t care. We don’t give a damn about anyone but ourselves and it results in chaos, sin, death, darkness.
The thing that makes you and me so sad, that makes out destruction so horrible; is that we were so very similar. We seemed to be made for each other. We filled each other’s spaces; or so it seemed. I still wonder sometimes, if you ever really loved me. I choose to believe you did because to think that you didn’t might kill the rest of me. For anyone else to ever understand us, though, I’ll need to start from the beginning.
The irony of all of it was the play. We met through a play and that was the thing that brought us together and it was the thing that sowed the seeds to tear us apart. If one has a life in theater then one knows of the cruelties actors can do to each other. Not everyone is everyone else’s friend. You and I know that all too well. Everyone in our show seemed to have it out for us and our relationship. It’s too bad that even when it was finished, neither of us ever got over the way we’d been treated. There were the people yelling drunk about how you were fucking someone so much younger than you, which at the time you weren’t. There were the people calling me a whore because I had fallen in love with you instead of the person everyone else wanted me to be with. We thought we’d let it go but looking back on it now I see that we hadn’t.
The play’s the thing.
I never told you about the first time I saw you. I remember it vividly. I remember your blue jeans, your tan shirt, your wild hair, and your unnaturally blue eyes. Your audition was unique, I’ll put it that way, and I fell in love with you then, though I did not know it. I saw you. I thought you were beautiful and I immediately deemed you so far out of my league that the stars in the sky seemed closer than you and I would ever get. I knew you were older than me and I knew you were one of the most handsome creatures I had ever laid eyes on. I thought myself too young and much to plain for your eye to even wander my way. I had never been more wrong than in that particular assumption; mostly because I didn’t know you. I didn’t know you weren’t like the rest of the human race. I didn’t realize, yet, that the way you viewed the world was so close to mine. Even in that, though, I should have realized that our loved was a doomed one.
For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favor,
Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute,
I was with someone at the time. Someone Who Was Not You. And that didn’t bother me for the most part, seeing as I’d worked hard to put you out of my mind. You were still there though. Your laugh making me laugh, making you laugh, making me get excited, making you get cocky and even more hilarious. It was unstoppable really. I wasn’t the only one who thought you were the funniest person in the cast. Everyone else couldn’t get enough of you either so my attentions were never suspect, at least for a while. Then My Someone Who Was Not You began to become suspicious because I found myself incapable of not talking about you. It was an accident.
The first time we ever had a real conversation I asked you what you were doing with your life. “What are you?” I said.
“What do you mean?” You replied.
“What do you do for a living?”
“I go to school.”
I was taken aback. School? Still? “How old are you?” I inquired, incredibly curious and lacking shame. Some say it’s a flaw I have. I haven’t decided whether I agree or not.
“How old are you,” was your incredibly witty retort. (Note the sarcasm.)
“Seventeen,” I said proudly. Why I was proud to be seventeen I don’t know. It was mostly just a show put on for you. A show in pretend confidence where I lacked the real stuff.
“Add ten years to that.”
He looked younger than 27 but I wasn’t surprised. The conversation continued as I asked why you were still in school and I learned you’d been in the military. I asked where you were born and we discovered that we’d both been around the country living in some of the same states. It made us laugh. From that moment on I couldn’t control it. I no longer had the control to stop myself from loving you, even though I so very much wanted not to. You wouldn’t believe the fight I put up with myself to not fall for you. I obviously failed. You were smart, I could tell. You were witty and clever and people talked about how you were amazing at playing the piano, later I heard you play and wholeheartedly agreed. I don’t know why I said it but I felt it needed to be said. You were taken off guard with the words but I assume in a good way since you smiled at me.
“I believe in you. I think one day you’ll be great.”
It’s true that I still believe in you but only you can make yourself great and right now, you’re destroying yourself. One who is destroyed cannot be great.
O What noble mind is here o’erthrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword;
Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and mould of form,
Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
Then there was that night, barely two weeks later. The night that started all of it. We, the cast, were all out to dinner. Someone Who Was Not You felt sick, so I kissed him goodbye and wished him get well. He waved to the table as he left, smiling brightly. The minute he stepped into his car almost every single head at the table turned to me and one spoke for the whole group. “Do you love him?” Everyone nodded in agreement at the question. Everyone except you. You seemed to be off somewhere else.
I shuddered internally. Love had done me too many wrongs. I tried to stay away from love. “I don’t believe in love,” I said boldly. “I believe in like. Yes, I like him.”
They all laughed at me and I was more than a little offended. Was my opinion wrong to them? Was I to be mocked for fearing something so powerful?
“It’s okay,” said the girl playing our main character. “That’s fair.”
I didn’t know what that meant and I didn’t really care so I turned to you. Something in me was very different that night. I put on such an aura of confidence that I was able to flirt quite blatantly with you and you flirted just as blatantly back. It wasn’t until four of us decided to take the little get together we were having to one of the backstage crew’s apartment that I really realized where this was going. You’d been drinking. You denied being anything but tipsy but I was still worried. I was worried about you driving home obviously. You’d been drinking a lot. Everyone kept vouching for your high-tolerance but still. Eventually, I had to leave. Being seventeen doesn’t afford you a late curfew so it was about eleven o clock. I said to you, “please be careful,” from my place behind the couch. You stood up on your knees on the cushions and suddenly your face was very close to mine. For a second I was sure you were about to kiss me but instead you just smiled softly.
“You should give me your number,” you whispered. “So I can text you that I got home safely.”
“Umm…y-yeah. Okay. Sure, I can do that.”
I waited up for your text that night and when you sent it, I almost passed out. Not because it was anything special. It was plain, I’m home. Gonna try and get some sleep now. No, that wasn’t the reason. The reason was because you’d remembered me and I wasn’t used to being remembered.
Two weeks later I broke up with Someone Who Isn’t You because you and I had spent a night at Village Inn talking until four in the morning. You had held my hand and every word from your mouth seemed so earnest and truthful. You told me you believed in my God. You told me you wanted to try this. You told me that to communicate in a relationship is the most important thing. You told me you wanted me, and I thought you were perfect. Your words felt like the truth. It never crossed my mind that they were lies. Maybe, not intentional lies but lies nonetheless.
It is as easy as lying.
The night of our first kiss was the night you made your most heartbreaking promise that proved false. You took me to the mountains and we sat on a rock under the stars. I said to you, “You know about me. I’ve told you much of my story. Tell me yours.”
And you did. It was a long story, full of sorrows that filled my soul with guilt. Not because I was the cause of them but because I always feel guilty when it comes to other people’s sadness. It always seems as though everyone else has a reason for it, yet I cannot help being sad, often times for no reason. I don’t believe my trials and tribulations are any match for those of others, or at least that’s what I used to think. I now know it to be different.
You told me about your parent’s divorce, the marriage of your mother to an abusive step-father, the time your mother sent you to a mental hospital because she said you were uncontrollable and your move to Albuquerque to live with your father for the last part of your senior year. You told me how you used to resent God and wanted nothing to do with him. How when you entered the army you took advantage of the women in your life, not caring for them or their feelings. Then you told me how you’d changed. How God had come to your rescue and taught you to have respect for women. I didn’t know what to say to you after all of that. Your past pain wasn’t something I could fix so I just held your hand.
“People leave me,” I said suddenly.
“I want you to know that I will always be here for you,” you said in reply.
That’s when I kissed you, sitting on a rock, underneath the stars. It was a kiss that shot through my body. Sparked all my nerve endings. You were the best thing I’d ever tasted and seemingly the best thing that had ever happened to me. We kissed until I had to go home. It was painful when we had to part. It had started. The strange, strange, addiction that I had to you.
It’s funny how our story is made up of nights. Nights and darkness and secrets. No one knew about us, we weren’t allowed to tell anyone. No one in the cast. Not my parents. Not the family you lived with. That would only cause trouble. I admit to telling my friends. I told them because I couldn’t keep you a complete secret. You seemed like a gift from God and I wanted to shout it to the world. But I was forced to keep it from the most important people in my life.
One night after rehearsal you took me to a park. We bundled up because it was cold and walked from your house to the playground down the street. I gripped the monkey bars and swung back and forth. Every time you looked at me you started to laugh. I stuck my tongue out at you. You did twenty pull ups on the uneven bars. I pushed you off, exasperated with your show to impress. You braced yourself like a quarterback and told me to run and push you as hard as I possibly could. You were an army boy, I tried five times, you barely moved. We walked back to your house. We started a contest to see how far we could kick rocks. Then I asked you the question that had been weighing on my mind for weeks now. Ever since the jokes about your very wide pupils and distracted laugh had finally registered in my mind.
“Why do you smoke marijuana?” I asked and you slowed your walk. I know you were afraid that I was about to judge you, to tell you to stop, so I hastily added, “I’m not here to play Jesus. I just want to know. Lots of people I know do it, but it never made sense to me.”
“Have you ever tried it?” You asked.
I nodded; it wasn’t something I was proud of, not that you would care.
“Then you know,” you said.
“No, I don’t. It wasn’t all that great. Both times were kind of stupid to me.”
“Well it’s different for everybody.” You were defending yourself. “I do it for the feeling.”
I nodded, “Yeah, yeah okay. I get that.”
I did but I didn’t. I didn’t try to talk anymore as we walked back. I felt too sick inside. It didn’t matter to me that marijuana was less harmful than other drugs. I’d still seen it ruin people and their families. Any sort of drug raised such disturbance in me that I’ve had very intense nightmares about it sometimes I still can’t pinpoint exactly why it freaks me out so much. Most people can separate themselves from something like that. They’re exposed to it, or they do it, so much that it doesn’t affect them. It wasn’t that way for me. I made the wrong decision when it came to you and your, oh so fucking beloved Mary Jane, the only girl you really had room for in your heart. I suspended my disturbance and fought to let it go.
We got back to your house you called out to the family you lived with that you’d brought your friend home. We went to your room and collapsed onto your bed. We looked into each other’s eyes until your buried your face in my arm. Fear set in. Fear about the intensity of my feelings for you. Fear about the prospect of getting my heart broken.
“I’m scared,” you said and I drew in a quick breath.
“Me too,” I whispered in reply. Apparently our thoughts had been on the same wavelength.
“I’m not used to the age difference.”
Something sharp and painful ignited in my chest. I sat up and pulled away from you. “I can’t make myself older. I’m sorry.”
You said nothing but you sat up too. I looked at you and you stared at me with those ridiculously blue eyes. It was a habit you had. You would just stare at me. Into my soul. Making me incredibly uncomfortable and I would always, always, look away first. Afterward I would laugh and say one day I would win our unwilling staring contests, even though I knew I was lying.
“I know you can’t. Don’t apologize,” you said. I huffed out a breath and you kissed me. You kissed me and kissed me and when we pulled apart it was time for me to go. I growled because the last thing I wanted to do was leave you.
“Can I come back?” I asked. It wasn’t the first time I’d snuck out to be with you but it was the first time I’d sneak out to spend the night with you.
“Yeah,” you said.
You walked me out to my car, kissed me, and I drove home. I stayed up waiting for my parents to retire and texted you to ask if your family was asleep. You said yes. I snuck out of my home and into yours. We fell onto your bed and kissed. We kissed all night. Nothing more. Just kissing. Thus started my nights of sneaking out to be with you.
I was the one who asked you to sleep with me. I was the one for a lot of things. It still makes me think that no matter how horrible you treated me in the end it was entirely my fault. I shouldn’t have asked you but how was I to know it was something you would use against me in the future. You didn’t have objections about it until a while later.
It didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I thought it was going to. Probably, because I was so caught up in you and being in love that pain had to take a back seat. I had never before felt more beautiful and wonderful than when you took me to your bed, the first time and every time after. Unfortunately, the day after that was also the first time you disappeared. The first time you disappeared was the first time you made me cry and shake in my skin with fear and anxiety. I thought I had wronged you and when I called you, you didn’t answer your phone. I texted you but I never received a text back. Eventually, I let it go so as not to be a burden or one of those clingy girlfriends. I spent the night crying on my couch watching movies, my parents looking on in confusion.
The next day you texted me, Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday. I wasn’t really talking to anyone.
My reply was, It’s okay. I wish you’d told me you needed some space. I don’t care but I was worried I’d made you mad.
Later, at 2:30 in the morning, a random text saying, Miss U. I cried about that text. It seemed you did care, you did remember me.
It wasn’t until we went to church the next morning and were sitting in your truck when you said you’d gotten wasted the night before and were drunk when you sent that. The mere mention of it really did you a number because you jumped out of the car and almost puked in the grass. I rubbed your back and held you. Things weren’t well for you at home. People were judging you for associating with me and it was messing with you, making you angry and bitter.
I could tell everyone about the good things because there were. Good things that is. In the months we spent together there were moments so perfect it felt like everything was perfect and just how it was supposed to be. The day you put your hat on my head, picked me up, and carried me to kiss you behind the dumpsters at McDonalds. That time you texted me while I was working saying, I wish you were here next to me. When you called me my darling in German. Every time we watched a movie curled up on your couch when no one was home. When we made love in my car, laughing and enjoying each other. Our matching fedoras and fancy sunglasses. Dancing. So much dancing. Those were the good times, spread out through the bad. Glimmers of hope for the future.
The bad started the week before Halloween. You’d been invited to a party, 21 and over of course, and said you’d be home in time for me to come over, that I should wait up for you. I did. I hung out with some friends for a while and you started texting me at eight pm.
This party sucks. I won’t be here much longer.
Okay just let me know.
I’m gonna leave soon.
These people are boring. I shouldn’t have come.
Sorry to hear that.
11 pm and I was on my way home from my friend’s house. A cop pulled me over for having my brights on. He looked at my face and thought I was high. It hurt because I wasn’t high but I knew you were; wherever your party was at. You were always high. You couldn’t bear the world. The officer kept trying to get me to admit it but I had nothing to admit. I started to panic. Flashes of you toking up in front of me, someone trying to make me feel guilty for something I was innocent of, the imminent threat of parental disapproval. I felt stupid and horrible and guilty and I wanted to scream. Eventually, the man let me go and I drove home as cautiously and carefully as possible. My parents were asleep. I knocked on the door to their room to let them know I was home. I ran up the stairs to my room, threw on my pajamas, and started to cry. I opened up my text messages and saw your name again.
I’ll leave in about twenty minutes.
I shook my head. I knew that was a lie. I knew it. I felt it. It had been almost four hours since you first told me you wouldn’t be much longer.
I just got pulled over by a cop.
I won’t be much longer.
And because I couldn’t deny you and because I had a strange sort of addiction to you I waited. I waited until three thirty in the morning when you asked me if I was still awake and did I want to come over. I said yes and I did and when I got there, sat on your bed, peered into your face, I noticed more than I wanted to. Your pupils were blown wide, your smile was hazy, you were drunk, and I was scared. I really hated you right then but I didn’t leave. I didn’t leave because I was afraid that if I did I wouldn’t be invited back. I tried to talk to you but the minute you laid down on the bed you fell into a weird sort of sleep. I knew that you were awake but you weren’t responsive. You were too high and too drunk to be much of anything. Your eyes would close and open but not register. I was crying because I’d had a horrible night. Not just the cop, not just waiting on you. I’d fought with my parents, fought with a friend, was in a hole of depression that I’d seen coming from so far away. And here I was. Hoping for a friend but getting a drunk, stoned, 27 year old child instead. You fell asleep. I tucked you in and left. I cried all the way home. I cried all night. I cried the next day. So began the bad.
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
I don’t know if you dreamed it or what but you got mad at me for saying something I didn’t say. You got mad at me for a lot of things I wasn’t sure about but I wasn’t allowed to get mad at you. I knew if I did you’d be okay without me but I wouldn’t be okay without you. But something happened. You stopped talking to me, really. Stopped inviting me over. I finally forced myself to confront you even though I was scared.
“What’s going on?” I said.
I had straddled your legs and held your hands in my lap. You were not allowed to escape. You would have to admit why you would leave me in my room at night telling me that I could come over when your family went to sleep and then never texting me back and me waiting up for you for hours. That was the beginning of that but it didn’t stop. After Thanksgiving you stopped a lot of things.
You looked away from me and laughed bitterly. I was pissed but I didn’t show it.
“Seriously, you’re freaking me out. What’s wrong?”
“Remember when you said that thing the a few weeks ago?” You asked.
“I’ve said a lot of things.”
“No, that thing about how if you knew you were going to die the next day would you tell someone?”
Here’s the deal. I still have no recollection of ever, ever, saying those words. And I remember everything. Or at least all the important things and that seemed like an important question that I would have remembered asking you.
“No, no I don’t remember that.”
“Well, it scared me.”
I racked my brain viscously to find some memory of having ever said that. Nothing came to mind. We’d been fighting a little about you not seeming to care and then you getting worked up about me accusing you of such a thing even though I had every right to.
“I’m sorry. I don’t remember saying that.”
“I thought you were going to kill yourself.”
“Wait what?” I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked but I was also positive that I had never said what you were saying I had said.
“I thought you were going to die. Then when I asked you what was wrong the other day and you wouldn’t talk to me about it.”
That part was true. You’d made me upset the other day because we’d been having a conversation and then you suddenly stopped replying. It took me posting my frustration on Facebook for you to even remember my existence. I had been pissed and I hadn’t been in a place to talk civilly about it to you so I said I didn’t want to talk just then.
“You can’t push me away,” you said. “You push me away and I’m hard to get back.”
I couldn’t help it then. I had no idea what I did but you were threatening to make yourself even more emotionally unavailable than you already were and I just started crying.
“I’m sorry.” I sobbed. “I’m so sorry. I would never do that to you. I would never leave you.”
And that was pure truth. You held me in your arms then and I thought it was all better…but it wasn’t. For a man who claimed communication was the most important thing in a relationship you sure as hell did a horrible, horrible job at it. It had taken you three weeks to come to me with your issue and even then I’d had to pin you to the couch to get you to open your mouth and talk. No wonder our future became what it was.
You started another show. I hated it. You started to hang out with them and ignore me even more. You were moody and mean, and never, ever sober around me. I never knew what I was and wasn’t allowed to say to you and you’d shut down. I still remember the night I came over and you played Call of Duty for two hours before you finally decided you wanted to have a conversation with me. You told me I worried too much, that I couldn’t force myself on people, that I was too much, and implied that I was a whore for ever having asked you to have sex with me.
“Can you wait for what you want? Can you respect me? You know it’s a sin right?”
That’s when I started to go a little insane. You used to make me feel loved with your touch, since you couldn’t do it with your words. Now you were taking that away too. If felt like there was nothing left of you.
“You used to miss me?” I cried. “You used to tell me you wanted me.”
You went quiet. I called you a hypocrite. You kicked me out of your house at 2:30 in the morning. I thought you were gone forever and I felt like I had died. You hadn’t gone though. Two days later you texted me, “welcome.” Your standard greeting or statement to anything. I felt such relief. Like I could breathe again after being under water all that time. It’s statement to how screwed up we were and how screwed over you had me, that I would feel like that after the way you’d treated me that night. It’s also a testament to how pathetic I am. To love someone so much even though I felt like gum at the bottom of your shoe. You weren’t the only one to treat me that way, just the most important one.
We slept together one last time. I shouldn’t have fallen for it. I shouldn’t have let you in again but I did and the minute it was over. The minute we both dressed your face went cold. It turned to stone again. Like it was my fault. Like I had forced you to take off your damn pants when you’d been flaunting your half naked body and dancing up on me before we’d tumbled into the sheets. You didn’t kiss me goodbye. You didn’t walk me out like you usually do. You opened the door and shut it. I found myself alone in the cold, more miserable than I had ever been in my entire life. I laughed bitterly as I got into my car, and they huffs of breath turned into heavy sobs. I should have let you go. Why didn’t I just let you go?
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once
Indeed, my Lord , you made me believe so.
It ended like this. Quick and sudden. Soul crushing and body breaking. Four days after Christmas. The worst Christmas of my life. I was confused when I texted you Christmas Eve and I didn’t get a reply. I was confused the next day when I didn’t get a Merry Christmas until late in the afternoon when I texted you. I was shattered when I went to your house that night after telling me you wanted to spend time with me. I arrived and you were toking it up with one of your friends. Someone I didn’t know. I excused myself to your restroom and cried in the corner. I came out ten minutes later; you hadn’t even noticed that I was gone. I stayed for four hours, because I couldn’t tear myself away from you, it’s that strange addiction. I sat on your couch and watched you play pool with your friend before I cracked and had to leave. I tried to talk to you. Tried to get you to see me again. I failed.
I was so far down. I was so far broken; afraid of humanity, clinging to you like you were my only hope when in fact you were the first domino to spark my inevitable downfall. I asked you please. I came to you with my heart in my hands like I had never done so before. I only asked you once. One time in all of our time together. I only asked you once to be there for me like you always promised you would be.
I need you to be there for me.
Can I come see you tomorrow?
And then you disappeared. For three days I had no idea where you were. I begged you to text me, call me, talk to me. Were you hurt? Were you in trouble? Was everything okay? Please, I’m worried about you.
When you did get back to me I went to your house. We went to your garage where you could light up where it wasn’t cold. You were already stoned of course but you needed more. You always needed more. It went like this:
“Are you okay?”
“Where have you been?”
“These last few days?”
“Yesterday? The day before?”
“I was at my friend’s house.”
“I texted you.”
“I sort of remember.”
I sat down heavily on the ground. Wanting to curl up inside of myself. “I asked you to be there for me?”
“I said yes,” you raised your stupid pipe to your lying lips and breathed in all the hypocrisy in your head.
“But you weren’t.”
I jumped up, “What do you want from me?”
Your answers were weird and cryptic. You said you didn’t want anything. I didn’t register how true that was in the moment. I asked you if I was allowed to want things. You asked what. I said love, attention, care. You said it wasn’t time for what I want. I was confused. You took that as an opportunity to go inside and sit on your couch and eat oatmeal. I should have left then. I should have taken it back into my own hands. I should have been stronger. But I wasn’t. I just sat next you and cried. I cried and cried in front of you and you didn’t hold me this time. You didn’t do anything. You sat there eating your stupid fucking oatmeal and petting your stupid fucking dog. I got so angry inside then and I told you. I had my arm on your shoulder and you said “don’t touch me.” I’d heard you say it before so I sighed exasperatedly.
“Do you even care?”
You nodded. I didn’t believe you.
“Caring about someone means watching over their heart not letting it break.”
Those were the last words I ever said to you in person. The only words I had the courage to say to you in person. I knew you could tear me down with one look, one word, and I didn’t want to provoke you any farther. I was terrified of you. I walked out of your house.
The world was spinning. Nothing seemed right. I wasn’t crying anymore. I just felt confused. I felt tired and burned up inside. Was that the end? Really this time? It felt like it. It didn’t feel like that last time. The last time I’d felt it hit the minute you shut the door on me in the cold dark. I felt it and screamed in my car. This time, it was different. I can’t explain to you exactly why but it did. I got in my car and turned it on. I couldn’t feel my own body. I drove home on autopilot. It wasn’t until I fell against the closed door of my room that it hit like a fucking mac truck. I couldn’t breathe. I started to hyperventilate. Someone wanted to come in my room but I didn’t let them. I curled into a fetal position and cried myself to sleep. So started my descent into madness.
She is importunate, indeed distract:
Her mood will needs be pitied.
I pulled myself up in the beginning. Enough to write you a letter, telling you the truth. How scared I was of you and about your lies. But then I couldn’t stay strong. I couldn’t stand anymore. I’d loved you more than I’d ever loved another soul even though you didn’t deserve it. You’d done what I had hoped you wouldn’t. You claimed you were different but you weren’t. Things were so fast in my head. So broken and stuttered. Your words on constant repeat in my head. My secrets left in your heart and you throwing them away like they meant nothing to you.
People leave me
I will always be here for you
“Liar!” I screamed in my room. I turned my music up the loudest it could go and screamed and screamed. I clutched my head. Trying to keep it from exploding. I threw my body across the bed and saw your smile. I kicked at the air and heard you laugh so brightly. I just couldn’t stop screaming. My parents came in and yelled.
“You’re acting like a five year old! He’s not worth it! Don’t give him this power.”
“You don’t know! You don’t understand! Go away!”
“It’s not like you had sex with him. It’s not like you were together. You were just friends.”
“You don’t understand. You don’t understand. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t!”
I started skipping school. I was too scared to leave the house and when I did it was hell on earth. People around me. Noises. Laughter. People I loved but who no longer loved me haunting my every step. I felt nothing and everything at the same time. My nightmares took most of my energy. I had no escape. All I could think is that the world wasn’t worth the pain. It wasn’t worth living if this was always to keep happening. To me, to people I know. It seemed things would never be beautiful again because I saw only darkness and pain. Pain of my own, pain of other people, pain I had caused myself. I didn’t want to be alive.
I started cutting and oh God did it feel good. I would wake up in the middle of the night from this nightmare or that and reach for my knife. The pain in my heart would take a backseat for a few minutes while I felt the pain in my skin. Above my elbow. On my thighs. I would press down with my palms during the days to feel the sting, and I would smile. The relief it gave me was so beautifully wrong.
I started drinking. Downing tequila, whiskey, scotch. Drinking only to get drunk and oh was that good too. When I was drunk it felt like I was out of my body. The pain was still there but so much less intense and there was such a pleasant buzz in my brain. I’d lie in my bed and laugh with an empty cup in my hand. I thought about getting high but then I’d remember you and when I remembered you my stomach would clench and I would run to the bathroom and throw up all the alcohol I’d just consumed. I would shrug afterwards, find another bottle, and start over.
I woke up each morning with thoughts of how I could kill myself swirling in my head. And every different scenario I made up in my head made me smile and feel nothing but a pure sense of respite. Oh how I wanted so desperately to die. Call me selfish, call me stupid, and call me anything you want. When a person is in a place so deep and dark, suffering from the betrayal of all the people she once loved, death is only something you can welcome. You can only endure so much pain. Our thresholds are not infinite and I was so very young. Too young to have been used the way I had been. Too have such instances repeated without a break. Too young.
It only got worse when the dreams of you fucking me turned into nightmares of my friend’s father touching me where he shouldn’t have been. I was just a baby. Just six years old. Talk about repressed memories. I was a day away from driving my car into a brick wall when they took me to the hospital. Questions. There were so many questions. Why? How? What? Who? I was distracted and I felt sick. Like I had the flu. It comes with depression. Nothing I hadn’t experienced before. The thing is though, the thing is…those nurses, those doctors, those councilors and psychiatrists. All of them looked me in the eye and said, “We’re going to take care of you. We want to help you.” And the sincerity in their eyes made me believe them. So I placed my life in their hands and let them keep me safe since I couldn’t do it myself.
PTSD, emotional trauma, sexual victimization, possible autism spectrum disorder, obvious massive anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, correct diagnoses of OCD, sleep disorder. Lamictal, Trazedone, Lexapro, Prazosin.
Take this cup. Swallow. Let me see. I have to make sure you took them. Vitals. Yelling. Screaming. Throwing things. Cussing at my parents. Lack of coffee. You can’t take my jacket. I hate you. We want to help. Lies. No. This is stupid fucking shit!
Breakfast. Art. School. Lunch. Outside playground. Dinner. We made you laugh. Clay? Make anything you want. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. That could be you. Sleep. Eat. Shower. Singing. Dancing. Banana bread. Chris is from Italy? That’s crazy. Unicorns. Cheese. Safety pen. Sound of Music. Determination.
And suddenly I could see the future again. I was released. Deemed safe. And now I’m here. Still in more pain than should be physically possible but if there’s one way Ophelia and I are not alike it is that I did not give up completely. They wouldn’t let me. The sweet young girl that Hamlet shattered had no one to keep her from giving up. We would have been great friends, she and I. I’m going to school again. I’m still scared. I still think the human race is a hopeless cause but at least now I remember how determined I am to be the best I can be. Better than you. Better than anyone who had ever done me wrong. You still haunt me. Everything still haunts me but each morning I pick up my sword and turn myself into a knight so brave and so strong. Then I ride out to face the day. A day of ghosts and trials but with a future that makes me believe maybe one day I will find some small measure of happiness.
So, goodbye dear Hamlet. Your madness took you down. I will always be your Ophelia, but this Ophelia is more than Shakespeare ever gave her a chance to be.
Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me. You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. And there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? ‘Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.
© Copyright 2017 Rogan Wynter. All rights reserved.
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