All I need
11 October 2001
It's not so much the time we spend together, as the time we don't. It's been a month or two since the last time we saw each other, and each day that goes by I miss you more and more; even when everyone tells me you're a bad bet, that it'll all end in tears, you know and I know that I can't help myself, that I'll always want you, that when I'm not with you there's a part of me that might as well be dead.
Remember the first time I spoke to you? I'd seen you around, in a couple of bars, I'd started seeing which clubs you went to and who your friends were. I made sure that everywhere you went out, I was there too; that when you saw me, I'd be surrounded by people that looked like they loved me; that you always thought, what has he got, and how can I get it?
It took a while to make contact. I'd be standing there, trying to look interested in the people that were interested in me, being desirable by not wanting you as badly as I did, drinking the right drinks and smoking cigarettes that made me feel like shit the next day. I flirted with your friends; I showed I didn't give a damn while inside I was spinning like Kylie. It must have been tens of nights out before I finally spoke to you; from the first time I thought about you last thing at night to the time we first exchanged a look over the flame of my borrowed lighter.
You had a boyfriend, of course; it couldn't have been that easy. Of course I'd heard the stories: the money he'd borrowed, the girls he'd been with, the times he'd made you cry so hard your eyes looked like they were bleeding next day in lectures. The way you always went back to him regardless; this strong woman who I envied for her beauty, her confidence, her independence, her don't-give-a-fuck attitude, reduced to a kid by some dickhead who didn't value what he had.
But obviously he pushed you too far. I never found out what it was, even in those nights when we held each other close and told each other everything; those times when you just went quiet and pulled me tighter towards you until I wanted to open up my soul and let you in so you wouldn't have to face the world alone any more. All I knew was that I hated him more when he'd lost you than when he had you and hurt you and you forgave him everything. Something told me that I could never affect you quite that deeply; that no matter how well I treated you, and how much you loved me, he would always be that distance between us that stopped you giving yourself to me alone. I wanted his power over you, his power to give you pleasure, his power to cause you pain.
We had a relationship, I'm not denying that. I'd be surprised if most people got that much passion in their lifetimes, if many couples could say they'd given that much of themselves to the other person. But even in the half-light of an early-morning fuck, when all I could see of you was eyes and breast and hair, when sight took a back seat to all the other senses, there was a dark shadow in the bed with us that wouldn't disappear when the birds started singing and the dawn sunlight came through my cheap curtains as we lay there afterward, gently touching each other's skin.
It's my fault, of course. I never challenged it, never questioned you. You never mentioned him, never really acted as though he was ever a part of your life. You never suggested you wanted any more or any different to what you had with me, in those few months when people that didn't know us would stare at us on the bus, on the tram, looking at us like you look at celebrity couples who just look so perfect and suited and in love.
But I was haunted. Vanity's a terrible thing, especially when it fights against itself. I was there, a beautiful woman on my arm, jealous looks all around; but I was always questioning, analysing, thinking but not asking the one person who could give me the real answer. And there's only one way that can end.
So it did end. I'm not sure I ever gave you a reason you believed; my friends know some of the story and tell me it could never have worked, but they're the same people that were telling me how great you were six weeks ago. It's loyalty, I know, but I don't need it. I don't want them shattering the image I had of you then.
Now, when I see you out, I make sure to keep my distance. You may have noticed I'm spending less time in the clubs, the bars you used to see me. Through no fault of yours, you've managed to make me feel hurt like I've never felt before, to make me feel happier not being with the person I love. This must be how suicide feels.