I dreamt about you. You were not my hero in the dream; you were not my soulmate, nor were you even my friend. You were an angry man. A man angry at me for simply existing and being in the same location as you. In the dream, your friend died, the one with cancer. I was trying to offer condolences, but you were so angry with me because I was there, in your presence.
I shrunk back from your anger, as I generally do, from a lifetime of conditioning. And you grew taller, bolder, angrier. You were menacing and terrifying. You became one of the demons I have always feared, towering above me, face dark, eyes red, claws ready to devour my soul. And then you were gone. I was awake, my heart pounding, gasping for breath, buried in blankets; then the tears came, and they would not end.
Once upon a time, you were my best friend, the one person I could trust with my heart and soul. You knew everything about me, things I had never told another living being. You knew each of my demons intimately, as I thought I had known yours. I was closer to you than anyone else in my life, and then you were gone. The void you left behind was overwhelming. The cruel words thoughtlessly flung at me behind your retreating back. Your refusal to comprehend the insufferable pain you caused. “You got your heartbroken; it happens, you’ll get over it.” And just like that, the knight I’d come to trust with my life became another demon chasing me through the night.
And perhaps this was my own fault. I’d put too much faith in you. I believed in you. You told me you were worth the chance, and I trusted you. But I should have known. No matter how much you wanted to believe in yourself at that moment in time, you weren’t ready for the chance you were asking me to give you. I knew you weren’t ready. You knew you weren’t ready. But the connection was so strong, that summer so magical, we threw caution to the wind and perused a relationship that was doomed from the start.
In retrospect, I can acknowledge the things I whispered to myself in the dark. Your life was there, and my life was here. You had no desire to make a life with me where I lived, and I didn’t want to return to a place I’d spent so many years trying to escape. Add to that a contentious relationship with my children’s father, the barriers to relocation on my end would have been never-ending. After a lifetime of indifference, neglect, and emotional abuse, you and I both needed more from a relationship than could be obtained with a 600+ mile distance. But the summer was so enchanting we were determined, or at least I was, to keep that magic.
I whispered other things to myself in the dark, but bashing you is not my intention. I didn’t like these things, and I kept silent. I let them go; I pretended they weren’t happening. I did this for two reasons. I thought when you figured out who you were; you would be ready to settle back down with me. And because I’d learned to stay silent. Even with you. When you tell people how you feel, they get mad and attack you. They don’t hear your words; they only “feel” that you’re attacking and strike back. Every time I brought up something that hurt me or made me unhappy with “us,” you told me why my feelings were wrong. I shrunk. I learned to temper the truth, shine the light more directly on things that had nothing to do with us, and leave our problems in the shadows. How can a relationship thrive in the shadows?
So now, instead of the knight who always made me laugh, I find a demon mocking my happy memories. The comical man who shrunk behind the bushes to make me laugh on the Lake Tahoe strip is gone. A sneer has replaced the smile on the face I loved so much. The hands which gently brushed the hair out of my face have been replaced with claws capable of shredding my heart and soul. The eyes that I looked into with love are now filled with hate and indifference. I will never forget the look on your face when you spied me at the airport the very first time. And it breaks my heart to know that a man I once loved, that I would have walked through fire for, has turned into a demon himself. He who was closely acquainted with the monsters that chased me, purposely feed the oldest, darkest, most fearsome beast and left me alone, bleeding and battered, to fight it once again.
One should never trust another human unconditionally. In the end, you’ll end up with a broken heart. Humans are fickle creatures. They often conquer what they can’t or don’t have, only to throw it away, proclaiming it not good once it’s in hand. Unconditional trust should only be granted to oneself because the only person who truly has your best interest at heart is you…and your knight will most surely turn into a demon chasing you through the dark corners of your mind.
Someday, I want to be good enough, good enough to not be discarded by fickle humans.