"I love you."
I hear these three little words over and over again.
The pain that sears my soul and tears at my heart steals my breath, my words, my mind. He chips away at my resolve with his supposed love I had sworn to myself I would never trust again. Too real are the memories and the tragic last days of our relationship in high school which I ran away from to never allow myself to be the subject of his humiliating entertainment.
Was it really that funny? To love you?
The single word I whisper to myself trembles as the tears threaten to fall again.
Now, I look at myself through a mirror, reflecting on happier days. Eyes glazed over with unshed tears once held childish naïvety years ago. The days following the unforgivable laugh left me jaded, a thin veil of protection against the onslaught of cruel, cruel reality. Life is not a shoujo manga. Rather, it is a Greek tragedy.
Sometimes, I wonder if my heart is glass; fragile. On things considered fragile, there is usually a label asking for it to be handled with care. I apologize this warning was not on me the day I confessed to you. Then again, most people would know feelings are volatile in nature, able to fly to the greatest of heights and crash lower than one could ever imagine. I experienced both extremes, the former far shorter than the latter. This is not to say I did not have a label. You labeled me as your toy, your property. Now, like a child, you long for a lost toy, trying to make me believe you truly love me. I will not forgive you, no matter how long I must convince myself to deny your bittersweet words without a moment's fleeting regret.
I feel bitter remorse when I think of how you betrayed my trust so long ago. When I disappeared from your life, I wanted to disappear from my own. Why live if I was worth nothing to you? You really meant this much to me. The memories of me would fade, dust blown away by a wind. Gone.
You did not forget me, though. Your overwhelming desire to toy with me allowed my existence to be etched into your memory. I do not understand why your warm breath can touch my cold glass heart and fog it up, clouding logic and reason I hold onto in order to never let myself be hurt by you again. I would break if I allowed you back into my life as someone far more than my colleague and you decided to mock me with sadistic déjà vu.
I wish life was easy. In society, love is one of those things everyone wants but few have. I am just someone who has the same dream as everyone else, wanting to call someone as my lover and this person calling me by the same title. I believe true love exists because I truly love you. I have trouble believing true love is mutual, though. I wish I could trust you as you could trust me. Even after playing with me to break the monotony of your life, I still love you. Now more than ever, I know unrequited love is a painful thing.
I wish you would leave me alone so you do not fool me into believing your sweet lies. I want us to stay only as an acquaintance, our relationship confined to only just knowing each other and our lives remaining parallel. Why do you continue to press forward when you know how desperate I am to keep you away? I am trying to let the small flame of hope die, the hope of how I am somebody special in your eyes. My heart twists painfully each time you do things to me you would do only to a lover. The flame burns brighter, burns longer, burns stronger. Please, let it die, let everything reminding me of you die so I can live and be free from you and your games. I give up; you win; leave me alone; your hurting me then years ago no longer satisfies you? If we continue to play this twisted game, I might admit the truth one day. Could I be happy if you stabbed me in the back again? I do not think I could smile if you proved the person I loved only loved me to see me cry.
Before, I felt I was on the edge of a cliff, high above the ground, above the storm below. The snow falling here was gentle, the freezing temperature making me numb to the pain and blind to the lovers' tragedy between us. When you came back into my life, though, the earth shook, the ledge I was standing on crumbled, and I fell back down into the storm of emotions I had suppressed, but never forgot. The adrenaline running through my blood gives way to admissions I never want you to hear. I will never admit to you they are true. Suffer as I have suffered and believe you are getting closer to your beloved plaything. You will never have me again.
In moments I am alone, though, I know my heart longs for you. To admit this to you would be treason against myself. I know this, but the promise I made to myself shatters bit by bit with every touch, every kiss, every heated moment I regret once I regain rational thought. I lose myself in you, and the guilt at what I am doing makes it hard to breathe. The pain of what I should do and what I want to do makes my world spin in this cycle of denial, lingering doubts, and hope.
I look back at myself in the mirror, tears flowing freely now. I cannot stop a broken breath from leaving my body as I feel your arms embrace me in a hug, your eyes deceitfully soft in the mirror's reflection, your voice saying those three little words, making me suffer as no one should suffer except for you.
"I love you."