“How do you know you fucked up? Like really fucked up? I ain’t got a clue anymore.” I’m just speaking to no one. I’m back at church just sitting here looking at the big dude up on that cross. I haven’t seen her in months. I probably won’t again. I don’t know why I come here and ask stupid questions, or tell secrets.
“I guess I was her secret.” My hands are leaned up against the bench in front of me. I’m just tilting my head up against it listening to my words. Listening to the people walking by. The silence. This place is always silent. We both had our secrets. She lied to me, and I lied about her. I fell in love while she just pushed away.
“But was it love, or was it infatuation, an obsession?” I’m just turning my hand looking at my bruised knuckles. I hear footsteps, but I don’t ever see them. Footsteps in between the silence and then after a few seconds I feel someone sit next to me.
“Forgive me father for I have sinned,” I smile, seeing the old dude sitting next to me how he usually does when I’m here.
“Back to ask more questions, Sid?” He asks me, icy blue eyes tearing through my soul. Guy gives me the fucking creeps.
“Questions, thoughts, frustrations, same old shit?” I try to smile, but he’s just watching me. We probably look comical to the people at the front of the church. A holy man sitting with a sinner. He’s never once asked me why I’m always bruised up or told me the shit on my skin is a sin. That I ruined myself with my tattoos.
“You sure as hell aren’t sleeping,” he says. Last time it was if I had eaten anything. Today it’s my sleeping patterns.
“Shit happens,” I mumble, rubbing my hands over my hair and getting up from the booth. “Same time tomorrow?” I tell him as I get up. He only nods, watching me walk out. Shit doesn’t really make sense lately. Nothing really does. I haven’t seen Izabel in months. She just kind of cut me off. Told me the negativity was too much. That it was like talking to a wall, she couldn’t get through to me. She doesn’t give a shit about me anymore, but I still check up on her sometimes.
The way lonely as fuck people do through social media. Photos of her and her new boyfriend, of drinks at bars, walks with her new puppy, all that shit.
Meanwhile, I’m still here.
Hating myself. Questioning myself.
I can’t deal with anything without wanting to drown in something. Whether it be pain, booze, or week, I just want to forget.
Because I fell for her while she fell for someone else.
The things I love just get taken away.
Maybe my pops was right to leave my ass when I was younger. Maybe I’ll just always be some piece of shit with nowhere to go, just chasing the next best thing, but never getting there.
“You still alive?” my shit roommate asks as I walk through the door.
“Barely,” I reply, making my way to my room.
“Lily came by,” he tells me from my door. I’m rummaging through dirty clothes trying to find a lighter.
“And?” I ask, mid-light.
He rolls his eyes and I tell him I’ll call her. I don’t call her and text her instead. Ask her what she’s doing and if she wants to come over. A few hours later she’s lying in my bed and I’m watching the street outside. The sun coming down and the cars driving past with happy families. She’s just sleeping. I don’t get that feeling that I got when I saw Izabel sleeping. There’s nothing intimate about it like some kind of secret. Yeah, she’s nice to look at, and I’d by lying if I said she wasn’t pretty. She’s beautiful. Her skin is clean, no ink anywhere, and half of the time I’m surprised I caught her attention. She fills the time in between the booze and drugs, in between the picking fights for no reason.
I guess from here she’s not so bad to look at. She’s going to school like Izabel. Talks to me about Pablo Neruda, reads me shit in Spanish while we’re just lying down.
I think I could love her? Maybe?
She seems to care. Tells me not to smoke or drink as heavily as I do. Takes care of my wounds, the visible ones and, if I let her, sometimes the invisible ones. She’s like some type of guardian angel in a fucked up way. The more destructive I am with myself the harder she cares. We haven’t even made things official. We just hang out, fuck around with each other. I don’t even take her to paint like I used to with Izabel. Make her go up the fire escape with booze and paint in my backpack. If I took Lily it’d be like cheating on Izabel.
Sometimes when I’m not too out of it, I take Lily to the movies, or dinner. When the guilt eats away at me. She’s the type of girl that deserves that shit, fancy meals and expensive jewelry. I can’t give her that. Shit, I can barely give her my fucked up company, the way I do now.
Everyone asks, “How the fuck did you get with her?” Shit, I don’t even know.
My room has random shit from her now, though. Sometimes clothes, hairpins, or make-up. There’s always books, though. Seeing a few next to me on the dresser, I pick one up, my hand over the open page as I flick my ashes.
“Neruda,” I mumble, the cigarette bouncing up and down between the letters. The book is torn to shreds from how many times she’s skimmed it and how many times I’ve accidentally dropped ashes on it. Coffee stains mixed with bent pages. I skim through it and land on something she’s highlighted:
Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips.
I just look at her, sheets moving with her breathing. Hair tangled in the sheets.
The lights from outside are completely gone and it’s night again. Except this time I’m not wandering around the streets at a bar, picking fights. I get out of bed and finish my cigarette. Just watching her form, or what I can make of it, through the dark.
“Ignacio,” she mumbles, searching for me. Her voice sounds small and vulnerable. I almost feel like a predator standing over her. She deserved better than me. Just like Izabel.
“I’m right here,” I feel myself whispering and getting back into bed. I want to push her away, call her a cab home and for a second I reach for my phone, but change my mind when my familiar friend makes a visit. That friend who only comes when time stops and I’m left with my thoughts; it’s that part of me that only comes out at night when I’m alone in bed and it wants her to stay. I ain’t talking sexually. Just company.
It’s the side of me I ignore with booze because the ache in my chest gets so hard to deal with that I can’t stand it anymore. The pain that makes me want to rip off my skin because maybe if I do, the feeling will go away. That ache in my chest that makes me want to pick fights and bleed because it’s better than whatever it is I need to feel.
I’m pulling her closer as the ache comes back. My faithful friend.
I fell like collapsing and, if I had her any closer, I’d probably suffocate her, because maybe if I have her close, so close to me physically, she’ll fill up that gap in my chest that aches.
The light from the moon reflects off the window a few feet away, and I can see her dark figure turning around to look at me.
I know that she knows something is up. When this first happened, and she asked if I was okay, I told her to leave. Called up a fucking cab like the piece of shit that I am and told her I’d call her. I didn’t call her back for another three days. We didn’t talk about why I treated her like a sociopath. She didn’t ask me why I spazzed out. Through the months I’ve told her here and there. How my mom passed away almost a year ago, or how Izabel just slowly cut me off. How slowly people have been dropping me. How sometimes I lay awake thinking that I’ll always be alone. She kisses me repeatedly as if those kisses will reassure me that I’m wanted. Sometimes she gives input, but usually just listens.
“You alrights?” she whispers through the dark, kissing me softly, before lying down again.
“Lils,” I whisper in her hair. Each breath smells like lavender mixed with perfume. She’s comfort late at night.
“Hmm,” she replies, half asleep. I almost tell her that I love her even if I don’t know if I ever will. I want to be self-destructive with her, but I can’t force myself to fuck with her like that. I want to see how far it can go before I destroy it all.
“Thank you,” I whisper, but she’s already asleep, dreaming while I’m here trying to keep myself together long enough to fall with her.