I remember that night in flashbacks and shake my head to get the images out and your touch off of me. I can’t banish it no matter how hard I try to, so I do what I can to reclaim a life without that pain.
I can’t walk down Superior Avenue without memories of waking up in your room and the confusion of the night before when you put your arm around me as though that was normal and okay. I do it anyway to remind myself of the truth. As much as you try, you can’t rob me of that.
I am pathetic for thinking that night was a moment of happiness, but a part of me was skeptical and aware of the trauma that is you. I should have listened to that sliver of a girl I did not recognize as myself while I could. She knew better. The nausea hit harder when you got close.
Now, all these months later, I don’t sleep until the sun comes up most nights. The light wards off nightmares. It is freeing like the sleep that came when I got back home and craved more of your touch instead of shivering at the leftover phantom feeling of your hand on the back of my neck.
There are some things I will never be able to work out of my mind. I told you once that so many things made me think of you, and you acted like that was good. I had thought of you while I was visiting family. We went out for ice cream, and your favorite flavor was right under mine on their list. That weekend, I thought of you then, while I shopped for books at Leana’s, not just the moments I looked at my phone in search of your name. You said that you wanted to keep adding to that collection of triggers that turned me to you. What a sick joke that was. Does anything at all make you think of me?
I know this isn’t the first time you’ve done this. Do you play games like that with the girl who you inevitably found to fill the void I left? I know I left one. You won’t admit it though, will you? There’s a lot you don’t admit when it comes to me. Your eyes admit more than you wish they did and more than you’ll ever acknowledge. I’ve never been able to look at them head on for the secrets they share.
You tell people one thing, but the truth is another. Still, you wonder why some people abandoned you or shut you down when you start the rants I know you’re good for. I share the truth. Texts and saved Snapchat messages – on your end, no less – are proof you seem to forget about. You can’t gaslight people when they realize your true colors. You can’t hide the words you put in writing. Nothing is ever private once damage is done.
I would let it go, ignore it, if you didn’t talk to my friends like you didn’t invite me over in the middle of the night while I was too drunk to think straight. Like you didn’t take care of me while I suffered through my first hangover and still have the nerve afterward to kiss me. Like you didn’t tell me you had feelings. Like you didn’t hold me all night, kissing the top of my head when you thought I was asleep.
I suppose that makes you an untraditional opposite of a nightmare. I’m not scared of fictitious monsters under the bed. Instead of telling myself it’s not real, I remind myself it was.