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by Leigh Garred 5 months ago in personality disorder
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She was bright red hair and green eyes.

She was an easy, flirty smile and a kind word.

She was an open book.

She was extroverted to the point of loving mosh pits, whereas I was introverted to the point of near agoraphobia.

That should have been a warning. Nonetheless, she disarmed me so completely that I felt alive in her presence. It wasn't just me. Like a flower girl at a wedding, she left a trail of broken hearts behind her. She had a magnetic presence. Self-destructive enough to be fun, but down-to-earth enough to be relatable. Men kept falling in love with her, she confided in me and she genuinely didn’t know why or how.

“Maybe it's because you’re such a flirt?” I posited while working on my computer.

“No, I don’t flirt with nice guys because they always, always fall for me. It's unfair to them.” She replied from her work station, sipping her keto coffee.

“Well then I really don’t know what to tell you.” I wanted to know her secret. I was fun and kind and personable too. And yet, I felt completely alone.

We shared a lot of interests, no matter how obscure or quirky. The nerdy interests I had that differed from hers did not seem to bother her. I noticed a pattern as we spent almost every day together, working and hanging out.

I do art. She does art and it’s more beautiful than mine (objectively).

I love books. She loves books and has read all of the books on my to be read list.

I want to have a family. She has the perfect family and they’re absolutely lovely.

The things I loved to do but struggled with came to her as easily as breathing does to anyone else.

She lived the life I wanted and did it better than me. I certainly couldn't compete. I told myself that I wouldn't allow myself to be intimidated by her. I wanted to maintain an air of sophistication and not be affected by jealousy.

“Learn from those you envy,'' my mom would say, “Enviable people give you a chance to grow.”

I promised myself I could do that, I could learn from her and grow.

However, the more time I spent in her presence, the smaller I felt. As if my presence didn't matter. I tried to learn how she interacted with others and what she did differently. But there wasn't anything to learn. People liked her for who she was. They loved her for who she was. She was just naturally more graceful than I would ever be.

The problem was me. There was something wrong with me. I was the mistake.

She was exactly who I should have been. The realization hit me on the long drive from work, 45 minutes down a rural dusty road where we were meeting people for drinks. Well... she was meeting some friends for drinks and asked if I wanted to come. I didn't, but I thought it would be a good learning experience.

She turned down the radio. “So, I feel like I can trust you. Do you know Tom in HR?”

The guy that I had pretty strong feelings for. We met. “Of course.”

“We’re kind of dating.”

My heart landed on the cluttered floorboards of her 4X4.

She hurried on in the silence. “But he doesn’t do the poly thing and I told him I'm not leaving my husband.”

I heard my voice. “How will that work?” Was I speaking?

"I don't know," she admitted, "But he says he's in love. And he dotes. I’ve never been doted on.”

My throat hurt but my tone was even. “What about your husband?”

"Nah, Dan isn't the doting type. Tom knows I'm not in love with him. Rather, he's like one of my closest friends."

“Is your husband okay with this arrangement?” I felt like my body was going numb.

A wry chuckle escaped her lips. “Not really. Dan trusts me not to fuck him, but he's actually pretty jealous."

Turning from her, I slipped my hand through the window where it was cracked open at the top. My hand should have gone cold from the wind, but I only felt the air as it passed across my fingers.

"It's a complicated matter," Someone said. Initially, I thought it might have been me, but I did not recognize the voice.

“Well’... what do you think? Any suggestions?”

The words wouldn't come out. As my vision shifted, I lost the pinpoint focus of a primate and gained a panoptic perspective on the world.

She lived my life better than I did.

She excelled at my interests better than I did.

She was loved better than I ever had been.

“Leigh?” she asked looking at where I had been sitting. But I had already gone. I was no more than a wisp on the wind.

personality disorder

About the author

Leigh Garred

Leigh is a writer, vlogger, and activist. She runs

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