I knew in that moment that I was done for. I felt it in that single, solitary instant like some cosmic blast from an unseen flamethrower...
"Who is he?" I asked.
"The big one? Or the little one?" She countered.
"The tall one that looks like Dopey..." I replied. "I want to meet him."
Her eyes lit up with all the trouble-making tenacity that made her her. "Are you gonna bring him home?"
I chuckled. Bring him home, I did. And for years following, there was seldom a night that he wasn't by my side.
We lived fast. We loved hard. We fucked harder, and partied the hardest of all. We dug our nails into each others flesh and held on for dear life as the angry tides that were the world around us tried like Hell to beat us down and tear us apart. We were having none of it. We were two warriors without the weapons needed, fighting a battle I think we both knew, in our hearts, that we were destined to ultimately lose. We were our own private Waterloo.
I can recall telling myself one night towards what would become The End:
"Remember this. It's fading."
And it already was. We were like a still-developing photograph exposed to harsh light. Our shadows were dissipating and washing out what was left. Gone - or going - all too soon for us to even cherish were our wanton ways and wild whims. I knew this. I saw it coming. I think he did too, but he refused it with all the bravado and fuck-you of the teenager that he still was.
Not surprisingly, it all came crashing down. A falling house of cards... Dominoes tumbling... Bubbles bursting... My realities and his recreations could no longer coexist within the same hearts. The hands that once held each other so close against the world now throttled the voices that once whispered forevers, hurled daggers so vicious that perhaps not even time could heal. The carousel had spun wildly out of control and thrown us both on our asses in vastly different directions.
The only thing left to do was walk away while there was still some semblance of something to walk away from. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But the fight for it was destroying it faster that anything else that could be done.
Bags were packed in virtual silence. A fairytale divided into cardboard boxes. Princes became Ogres. Apples became Poison. And suddenly, it was over. He was standing on the front porch, his ride waiting... And the last thing he ever said to me:
"I always loved you, Mama."
And my heart shattered into dust. I didn't say a word. I didn't dare.
He turned away.
I shut the door.
I've never wept so completely. Never known the meaning of mourning as I did in that moment.