I am hunkering on the precipice of depression, and I can feel him standing behind me, ready to push me off. Not because he’s a bad person, but because he doesn’t know any better. He doesn’t know what he’s doing or why he’s doing to me, and I don’t really know how to explain it. I can feel the fear inside me, because I don’t know what’s worse: to have loved and lost, or to have never loved at all? Because that simple mathematic equation doesn’t encompass the gravity of this situation. As he’s standing behind me tempestuously, and I know that to have loved and lost means that I will lose myself. I won’t lose him in any way; I will only lose myself. I will lose my dignity. I will lose my youth. I will lose my good looks. I will lose friends and money and jobs and respect if I love him. And what will I gain? Loving him won’t leave me with a net positive, and despite knowing this I am still standing here, ready to let him push me over the edge.
Or I could never love at all. I glance back over my shoulder, and I see him there. I could never love him. I could walk away right now, although yesterday would have been much better timing. Today, my emotions are already too entangled in him. My life, which barely overlaps with his, is consumed by him. I would to never love him. I would like to wake up at a reasonable hour every day and feel lonely rather than devastated. That seems like a better option. But I am afraid that it might be too late to never him. It might be too late to walk away.
Maybe it’s just that I don’t know how. I don’t know how to walk away from something that is destroying me slowly. I peer over the edge of the cliff and into what the future will look like for me and him. It’s a long way to the bottom, and I will land there alone. I know it. I will look back up at him with my last dying breath, and I will see him still standing there. He never jumped! He just pushed me! And now he is laughing, and as I look around I will see that I am not the only dead body littered among the rocks and water. There are so many others, too. So many other women shattered at the bottom, drifting apart in the ocean waters. Alone, but still waiting for him to jump down and rescue them.
I do not want to be a broken body sinking to the bottom of the ocean, which is why I wonder how I got here. Who brought me here? Who showed me the way? What dream was I following? I would like to blame someone else for this impending disaster, but as I look down, I know that the only feet that brought me here were my own. I brought me here. I am here because of me, and because of him, too, but it is not his fault if I jump. It will be mine alone if I wind up down there with the other broken bodies.
I have to plot my escape. I just know it. I can’t stand on the edge of the world forever. I will fall eventually if I don’t claw my way out of here. But he is still standing behind me, and for some reason I can’t see anything other than him. There is a whole wide world out there, there are other people here, there are paths marked ‘exit’ but for some reason the only thing I see is him. Him grinning. Him telling me everything is going to be okay. Him lying to me, like he always does. Him leaving me, which seems to happen consistently, but always coming back right when I muster up the courage to start running.
My friends ask me why I do this, and I don’t know how to tell them that I am a slave to my passions. I love him because he fucks me into thinking that his love is true. He fucks me like he loves me, and then he leaves me wanting more. It’s a cruel joke, really, because how many times have I done that to man after man after man?
I was once told that loving another human being is the greatest thing that I could do with my life, but now I’m beginning to wonder what kind of monster would encourage me to arrive at place like this in my life. Because here I am. And what happens next.