The words always hung on our lips, like the years that trembled on Daisy’s. They spilled to the air, but never the ear. Always silent between our eyes.
All the things he had tried to tell me. A scattered explanation. The shatterings of a heart. In the silence of a glance. The hookah pluming between us. And our hearts like the smoke, hanging in the balance of the thick air.
He thought that he was a time bomb. At any moment he would say the wrong thing, let one thing go and-
The whole relationship gone. And anything he cared about in himself with it.
He was always afraid of hurting me. But in truth I was the suicide bomber. I was the one with a timer inside. A trigger that no one knew about that could be pulled at any second. A ticking, flashing that anything might activate and then-
Cause there’s no telling how far the blast will go and if you’ll be able to survive.
Get out of here. Before you kill him. Before you kill yourself. Get out of here. Before it’s all too late.
He tried so many times to tell me to go. Tell me he’d break me. Tell me he’d kill me. But I waited. I stayed.
Get this timer out of me.
Because killing you will be the death of me.
“Just because I check my gun at the door doesn’t mean my brain will change from a hand grenade.”
There were a thousand walls between us because there were none. I could slip past his defenses, so he threw them all up. I could see right through him, so he’d lie. Say I was wrong. Pass off. Condescend. Belittle.
And even I would fall for his facades. Like Middle Eastern warfare tactics. Illusion, evasion. Maybe they learned it from mirage.
The truth was, I needed to let it go. If he put up defenses so desperately, then there really must be something to protect. No matter how much I might think I was helping, I wasn’t.
If you love me, let me go.
“She spoke and dreamt in love, and he dreamt in death and loss.”
There was nothing in the world that could break the barrier between them. No words, crass or eloquent, no actions, bold or refined.
No word or touch of love.
Could anything find him in the wasteland? Or would he only hate himself more, knowing she endured it to find him.
No, her word or touch of love only jarred him. With the idea something could be outside of this. That idle hope, that pipe dream that he could escape this. No, no. Any love for him would drag her into this. Any love would bring her down.
And he knew, too, that she had a wasteland of her own. A place he had no strength to enter. And he would never ask her to find him in his when he could not endure hers.
“And if we survive this desolation, perhaps our journeys will bring us along the same path.” She said in a whisper.
“When I am no loner chaos and your love no longer poison to my heart.” He pulled her close for a moment and closed his eyes before both of them let go.
She sat up abruptly, swinging her legs to the floor. Her toes curled against the smooth hardwood and her fingers dug into the mattress.
He could never hear her pain or feel it. He had never wanted to share it, to ease it, to listen to her voice carry it, so she buried it. Often times she wondered if anyone would share it, if anyone had the gall to listen. Or maybe it was the guts to listen. She had no dark past, no dark side and no dark secrets, yet everyone wanted to shrink away from her. Sometimes she would entertain the idea of getting a drink with a stranger and telling him all sorts of things about herself, staying till the bar closed and then going their separate ways, never to see or speak to each other again. Of course the trouble with such a fantasy was finding someone who was content to merely talk.
She shivered, wrapping her arms about herself. The air in the room was frigid after the warmth of her bed. Just a few steps to the closet and her bathrobe.
Her mind came back to him again. The sting of regret. And before she could shut it off the snapshots played. An exchange of glances, laughter, a touch on the arm, emails unreplied, passing without speaking, parting without goodbyes. A whole story remembered in a moment and forgotten in the next. No one would ever know what it meant to her. The trouble was not hating the world for it. She told herself she’d be lucky if anyone ever listened, understood and cared. Those three were hard to find.
Maybe the world was just cold.
At that point I just wondered what his end game was. Protecting her? Admirable, but she’d never appreciate the condescension. Although perhaps on that note, it was her pride that was at fault. What I suspected though, was that it was born out of self-hatred. He did not believe that God loved him, in mercy or in grace. No. It was his moral virtue against the world. Nothing more. And nothing less. Maybe denying himself his heart’s desire was his way of punishing himself. Maybe that was his deal with God. Maybe if he gave up his quest for love God might forgive him of his past mistakes. Perhaps if he gave up what he wanted most, then God would call it even.
So he’d give up his dream of love and admire it from afar. From the corner table in a bar or behind a pen and paper. He’d drown himself in loneliness and punish himself for that too. He’d punish himself for still longing, even though he’d given up hope. He’d punish himself for laughing, for pulling her into his arms. It was only just a moment, no he’d hadn’t even asked her out. But it was just too much, too much good for him. He couldn’t afford to enjoy himself. He couldn’t taint something pure.
So he found his way through life in a series of empty bottles and cigarette butts. In as many friends and late night hours as he could fret away. It was the nights he hated most, that’s why he always went out. It was the nights he hated most, because then he’d think of her and everyone else he’d lost. It was the nights he hated most, because it was then he felt most alone.
And that is why he felt like the whole world was caving in.
She let him speak to himself his darkest fears when his grief had gone in for the kill. Told him she loved him, but handed him to his demons instead.
“Told he’d be his own Father’s infidelity, his legacy—a false charmer that would let hearts molder at his word.”
Said she loved him too much to stay.
Too much to lend a helping hand?
“And that’s where he’d lost himself, in a doubtful fear of becoming that.”
“I can’t keep beating myself up over you.”
You are not worth the pain I feel.
“It had broken the women who had cherished his birth and now had materialized those words in action, a disdain at the face she saw in him.”
If she had ever truly known him, she would have known it was his greatest fear.
“He had fallen into a place where he clawed at his character; his own insecurities were the Cerberus in the abyss he’d taken comfort in.”
No, if she had ever loved him, she surely didn’t now.
Quotations taken from “Rusted Tracks” by ZaidLux.tumblr.com