Three months into our relationship, I decided to end it. What seemed appropriate at the time, like something that would restore a balance I had gone too long without, plunged me into a despair I had never before known. There was nothing to be done but fall into it, protecting what I could.
As the days, and eventually weeks, passed with no improvement in my emotional state, it became obvious that there was something to be lived out with Robert. Until I did, I was stuck in position while the rest of the world moved forward.
For him to come back, he required that I beg, until my voice grew hoarse, and he tired of punishing me. For the world to make sense again, I was willing to do much more than that.
I wish not to write anymore, or ever again. There is no need to record my disconnect. It is too late in the evening, too late to recover from this. I am held up by the arguments, as much as I am taken apart by them. With a million things to say and accusations to refute, without given the pause to voice them, teeth begin to break from the pressure of a clenched jaw. Facts are distorted beyond recognition. Errors are thrown back, fracturing the tenderness love wishes to give at all times.
There is a willow tree outside his home, which I told him belonged to me. He argued that he loved it more than I did. That wasn’t the point, and it was exactly the point. Fuck his willow tree.
All those handwritten love letters, I wonder what he has done with them. My hands are cramped and sore, expressing in print what Robby was born unable to feel. One must love more than the other. My heart is too large to have avoided being the one who adores, while barely receiving enough attention to avoid the kind of starvation that is most noticeable. I am left to wonder what it must be like to be placed carefully upon a pedestal, instead of hidden away on a shelf.
Everyone throws their rope at me, as if I would dare grab on to it. His friends and family attempt to save me from this perilous love affair of mine. But what is the price to be paid for salvation? More than one of Robert’s friends have expressed a romantic interest in me. They would exploit perceived weakness. They do not wish to see me on my feet, but in their bed.
I love you, I say. It is impossible to count the times those words escape my lips. They run out into his ears, unable to hold on to his heart. A tall structure of love to climb upon.
Jonathan, his dearest friend, tried to tell me Robert had been unfaithful, but he stopped himself, and I no longer know who to trust. A man whose arms I allow myself to collapse into, despite the way he points his gun at me, or his friend who lusts after me, but could be using honesty in order to gain my trust and affection. And what is making love to another woman, when he lacks the skill to provide any kind of pleasure? Could I really be angry at activity that restricts itself to an area below the heart? Any lust a woman feels for him will be frustrated, despite all attempts to fill herself with him, just as any love felt for Robby would suffer the same fate.
I am a doll without batteries. I exist to please him, yet fail. Robert has asked me to yell at him. He does not trust my forgiveness. I am too passive, too permissive. He believes I am plotting against him. There will come a day in which I will make him pay for every injury he has caused me. Under my bed, there are plans, and weapons, all to be used against him. To rip apart flesh from bone. To exact revenge on a large scale. He does not understand that all I want is for this to work, the way I know it can. There is no hurt I cannot push aside, excuse, and forget.
He believes and prefers everyone but me. This is a knife twisted into my pride. Is there any left?
We said we would discover the world, but instead we hide from ourselves, and each other. There is no safety like denial. But what of my own strength? Of that, I say nothing, since I doubt it ever existed. Or, it is a thing to be triggered by an event that has not occurred. All explorers must posses courage, and a steady hand.