For months, I have craved solitude. The dictator allowed for this. Now, the silence is almost too much to bear. I reach out for some company, and find it only in my books. Sister and the children have left to spend the holidays in Los Angeles. They are surrounded by what is left of my extended family. I feel their absence as an almost physical ache. It is for this reason that I met with Jared for coffee, late in the evening.
Though our history is one filled with violence, I cannot say that I experienced any fear, as he sat across from me. As is often the case with those that brought me harm, it has been replaced by pity. All false kings soon lose their crown in carelessness, or in defeat. Aquarius no longer has power over me.
Jared looked like such an old man, as he drank his tea. Caffeine gave him anxiety, he said. He was no longer the same, after his tour of duty in Iraq. Aquarius had joined the military, only months after we broke off our relationship.
Hunched over, as if his spine could not handle the weight of his head, he took one sip of chamomile, then another. I wondered if he was truly a man in his twenties, or if he had escaped a geriatric home. He looked impossibly fragile. Those blue eyes had lost their sharpness.
“I have always loved you. You are the only person I ever loved, and I think we can work things out,” he said.
Only weeks after Jared vowed to protect the United States from all enemies, even those imagined for the nation’s own gain, he got married. That farce would not last more than sixteen months. There were women before the wife, and after. Many would be flattered to know that a past lover holds them in the highest regard, with the grandest affection. But I have only ever been me, and I found this declaration of love to be ludicrous.
I told him that I could love everyone, or anyone, before I loved him. I spoke of things he did not know of, or did not care about, just so that he would remain silent. He grew more depressed, with each new statement. And, while it seemed that nothing mattered, nothing was truly being said, it was just the opposite. I stood before him, just to show him he never had the strength to take me down.