Whom the Gods Destroy
"I want you to be happy," he says. My tears on his shirt. He's crying. It's been so long since I made a man cry. I suppose I should take some sort of pleasure in that.

If only I had walked away in the beginning. Or kept to the plan-be distant and bitchy, use him for what I wanted and not get emotionally involved. I never do the smart thing, the right thing. My mother has no sense of direction-she gets lost in bathrooms and on 20 minute drives to the movies. I'm the emotional equivalent of the same thing. Show me the wrong man, a bad relationship, a decision that will undoubtedly result in overwhelming pain and I instinctively head in that direction. I felt his pain more than I felt my own. Like a fool, kissing him and soothing him when I should have been angry, when I should have sent him away with nothing but scorn and insult. Instead, I waited for him on my stoop at night shaking with anticipation and yet asking myself over and over "What the hell am I doing? Why am I wasting my time on what I know will only end in pain?" Because it's going to be painful anyway. Because it was worth it to me to feel special and loved again if only for a moment.

Because I thought I would have more time.

I'm too old for this. If I had known when Eric left, this is what my life was going to be like-I would have killed myself without hesitation. I fought so hard to stay alive-two years of wanting to die every minute of every day. Two years of running the gauntlet of the 200 ways to kill myself on the way to work only to have to run them all again on the way home. Not to slash my chest open while making dinner. Not to walk in front of traffic. Not to overdose on sedatives and pain killers. Not to throw myself under the 6 train. Not to drink drano. And for what? For this? To have fallen this far? To survive only to discover that I really did die that day, and this other girl who is still alive is just the ghost of a ghost. A collection of horrible memories, psychological problems, and movie quotes. Something not even my parents could really love-just throw money at.

You would think I wouldn't have any more tears in me after all of this, but I do.

I haven't eaten since Tuesday. All I have in my system is bourbon and iced tea. And I'm almost out of bourbon, which is the only reason why I am going to leave the apartment. Outside the sun is shining and I'm in here vomiting bile because I have nothing left to vomit. If I could throw up my heart, I would. I suppose I'm hoping that is what is going to happen. I keep drinking so I can keep sleeping. The minute I wake up the first thing I do is think about cutting myself and then I think of him and then I take two large gulps of bourbon so I can go back to sleep and dream of snow and painlessness.

I'm so sick of fighting for this empty useless life.

He says he's doing this for me, so I can be happy because he can't be what I want him to be. Of course he can't. Because what I want, what I have never recovered from, is that old life-the one where for one brief and shining moment I had everything I wanted, everything I never thought I could have-and I was right. I just want to be loved again. Like I was. When I had someone to come home to. When I had someone who took care of me when I was sick. When I didn't care about being a famous writer, I just wanted to be a teacher and be his wife.

For two year sof my life, I was afraid to die. I kept asking God to let me live a little longer. And now I will never ever stop regretting that. If only I had died, I would at least died happy. People sometimes tell me I'm lucky I've survived all of this. I'm tempted to tell them-luck is dying without knowing any of this. Still being able to believe in something, anything, worthwhile-and not living on stubborness and alcohol.

He tells me he cares about me and he wants me to happy before he runs out with my tears on his shirt. He'll go home to his wife and his children. He'll lose himself in the type of life that I can't even allow myself to dream about. He'll be fine. I was a momentary madness. In a year,he won't remember me. Me? How many men have I wept over in the last 7 years alone? I've lost count. I can't even remember their names anymore, although I remember what I called them here:Retrocrush, Farm Fresh, Bishop, Jolly Green Giant, Dockers, Nice Guy Eddie, Damocles, and Tony the Tiger. Most of them, years later, I barely remember at all. Half of them I would have to comb over the archives to even remember anything about them. Losing the pain of one love in another until none of them really matter.

I tell myself I'll forget him too. Like the others. He won't even be preserved in stories like Ivan the Horrible and UDR. I won't send him up to be mocked by my friends most of whom don't even know I was dating him. I barely even wrote about him. I spend the day erasing the few traces of him that I have him. Deleting his voicemails, text messages, emails, phone numbers. Throwing out his shirts and the one present he ever gave me-an illfitting Merrywidow in red and black. Not my style at all, really. He never brought me presents. Kiss Kiss bought me snow and rabbits. The Sauvage gave me the summer sun in Frehel and Koring Amande. Even Eric, I still have the necklace and bracelet he gave me all those years ago. Of course now it will make it easier to dispose of him. All his detritus is ephemeral. His smell has already faded, next will be the way he looks, and finally his voice. That will be the last thing I will lose. His verbal ticks "Are you now?" and "Do you now?" So Irish in origin. There weren't even that many inside jokes. Yet he's already harder to shake than Kiss Kiss with whom I spent a year. Kiss Kiss who looks through me and not at me when I walk in a room-even though I still have his gifts and his pictures and his inside jokes. I tell myself if I can get through this, a year from now I'll be surprised if I even remember his name.

Ibsen said that some fictions are necessary to our existence.

People will tell me that I'm better off, that I'm too good for him. People will tell me there is hope, there will be something better, that I will get the happiness I deserve. But I, I who grew up in ERs and ORs and waiting rooms. I who have survived dying so many times I lost count.I who have been hearing this bullshit since Eric left, since before that, since high school. I who grew up in ERs and ORs and waiting rooms. I know better. I know, for example, that while there may be no atheists in foxholes, there are alot of them in pediatric ICU because who could look on that and still believe that there is justice in the world? And I who survived those horrors, only to be haunted by others, how could I believe in anything other than pain? When I was in middle school the popular kids used to make fun of me for believing that anyone could be actually interested in me. All those times I wanted to to die, I pushed myself through it in order to prove them wrong, but they were right about me. All that hope for something better landed me here.

All there is here is a liquor store around the corner that delivers.

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