When I realized I loved him, I wanted to find the nearest bridge and jump. He, for the past two years, had made my life a living hell. He was a narcissistic genius who was completely oblivious to how his actions affected those around him.

But this year he has changed. He’s sweet, considerate, and seems to genuinely care about me. I didn't mean to like him (in fact the very thought sickened me), but soon, whenever he entered the room my heart would skip a beat. 

This torcher continued for weeks before he finally asked me out, officially starting our high school love affair. Two months of bliss ensued. Spending every other night curled up watching a movie, playing pool, or spending hours video gaming. It was a high school love story of enemies turned lovers... something straight out of the movies. 

Everything was amazing, until suddenly it wasn’t. 

“Do you love me?” his words were quiet in the dim room, lit only by the erratic flashing of a TV. We lay cuddling on an old beaten up leather couch, watching our go-to show: Parks and Rec. 

There is a beat of silence before I register what was just asked. My mind races to compute as my mouth moves automatically.

“Of course I do.”

Silence falls once more. I turn my head to see his smiling face, his joy very clearly apparent. He leans forward to kiss me, pushing his lips forcefully against my own. I pull away from him and turned towards the TV, aggravated by his lack of response. 

Either choosing to ignore my annoyance, or simply not noticing, he starts to play with my hair. Slowly, my anger fades. 

He must love me too. Why else would he play with my hair?

Soon, his hand leaves my hair as he places it on my stomach. As I tense, fighting years of insecurity, his hand slides discreetly to the hem of my shirt. His cold fingers causing chills to form wherever he touched. 

Excitement and nerves course through me. This is the next step. The next box to check in our relationship. Although it is only natural that he wants to continue exploring this affection we have towards each other, something inside me hardens. A little whisper in the back of my head taunts me, reminding me that he never said he loved me. 

For the rest of the night, his hand moved up and down my stomach. Tracing its way from the top of my jeans, to just above the underwire in my bra as my conscience whispered a warning. A warning of how people can change. 

That night when he drove me home, he put his hand on my thigh, told me how I was so beautiful and that he was lucky to have me. As I skipped to my door, I knew he must love me too. 

For the next few weeks, we did the same thing. We watched movies, and in the dark, his hands explored my body. 

He kept pushing me, asking for more. He always started with “Do you love me?”  And I always responded with, “Of course.” 

Then he would say the dreaded phrase, ‘if you really love me…” 

I never understood why he had to set that ultimatum. It caused a deep fear to bloom whenever he uttered those dreaded words. 

“If you really love me.” What type of phrase is that? It’s a threat, a trap, a cage, a way to hold someone captive. Or it’s a way to encourage someone who loves you, to do anything for you.

Those words terrified me. I never had an exact reason to not do what he asked. Every time I would try to come up with excuses, but there are only so many times you can complain of period cramps or ‘not being in the mood,’ before you have to give in. 

Conceding was easier than fighting and soon I found myself not protesting despite my moral conscience. There was only one area that I would not crumble, and that was sex. It’s not that I believe in saving it for marriage, but I wanted the decision of when I lost it to be completely mine. No matter how hard he pushed, or how often he begged, I would not give in.

He started to call me a tease, saying that a good girlfriend would have slept with him by now. His pushing became a near-constant plea but I continued my hesitance to give in. 

He had truly become a monster. Gone was the boy I had loved, and in his place was a seemingly unbeatable foe. 

Spending time with him became a chore. It was getting increasingly difficult to come up with reasons to not give up. 

I started to say no to hanging out, blaming homework and other commitments for my lack of time. I knew that this relationship would have to end. It was becoming more apparent with every passing day that our ‘love’ was nonexistent.

Although I knew that it was not my fault that this train wreck of a relationship was crumbling, it did not stop me from wondering if there was something about me that had brought us to this point. Maybe I was dressing too provocatively. Maybe I was too flirty. Or, maybe something was fundamentally wrong with me. 

Maybe there was nothing wrong with him, but everything wrong with me. 

Three months. That’s how long this love affair lasted. I always thought that it would be me cutting the string, but one night I said ‘no’ one too many times, and he told me that we were done. That I was “too much to handle.”

Finally, I was free! Unburdened from the horrors of the unrequited desires that had haunted me. Our love, a romantic tale on paper, had been doomed from the start. I was a slow fuse, and he was a stick of dynamite. He wanted a fiery hot love affair, and I wanted someone to watch the sunset with.

Our incompatibility was ingrained into who we are. A relationship had only forced us to attempt to fundamentally change the other. 

Truly, we are now free.

January 17, 2020 16:28

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