I don't love you, anymore. I am not sure why I ever did. I carried the torch - heartbroken, smashed, destroyed - for a decade. Pining. And then you appeared after all this time. My heart skipped a beat. I remembered. Oh the glory days... New Orleans, where you beat me so bad I had to quit work. California, where you threw the TV on top of me and knocked me down the stairs. Where you put me in a coma and then tried to drag my unconscious body out of the hospital. All the time that you refused to work because you would have to stop using in order to get a job. The relationships you destroyed. The bones you broke. The heart that no longer beats.
Suddenly from this side of the looking glass, things look quite different. I never realized how strongly heroin affects your eyesight. I never knew cocaine had such a long-term effect on the perception of an otherwise brilliant individual.
Aching so hard to be loved, the writer in me spun a tale far beyond any reality. "Oh no, when he choked me 'til I passed out and I am wearing turtlenecks in July in California, he was just having a spell. It'll be okay."
In many ways, my fucked up mental state and decade long yearning for you has saved me. I have not been in any modicum of a real relationship since. I have grown to love myself instead of depending on someone to beat their love into me. But, in my defense, that was all I knew. It was my childhood. It was expected. A beating - until I left you - was the only way anyone paid attention to me. Not so now. Never again will anyone raise a hand against me and live to tell.
I don't know that I ever will date again because of you. That's not a negative. I really don't care to. This journey has made me so much more self sufficient in so many ways. Granted, I am still growing. I still have one last hurdle to overcome and move away from - and it's huge - but it's coming.
So no, I don't love you anymore. But I thank you for it.
"Sometimes you meet yourself on the road before you have a chance to learn the appropriate greeting. Faced with your own possibilities, the hard part is knowing a speech is not required. All you have to say is yes."
— Pearl Cleage, "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day"