The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

So it's finally happened. I guess I should have seen it coming. I've lost my best friend; it's over between us. He tried to push me away, then changed his mind... but when I woke up the next morning I knew it had to end. This must be the answer to my prayers; to be released from this hellish cycle of cruelty, anxiety, insanity... I can't take care of him anymore. He doesn't even want my help. He keeps saying I have to learn to let go, and I know now he's been right, but it took his cruelty to make me see it.

I don't even recognize him anymore. There is nothing left in him that even resembles the boy I met a year ago, and who became my dearest friend six months ago. It feels like a death. I'm still in love with who he used to be, but there's nothing left of him. A monster has taken his place, and it wears his face like a mask, mocking me, exhaling smoke.

It doesn't make it easier to know I did it. I'm the one who killed the boy I loved. He changed because of me. He changed because of what I did, what I said... maybe just being around me. He changed as a result of our relationship, and if I'd never become close to him, he would still be who he was. I created this monster, but I couldn't control it.

It was his kindness that caught me. His caring attentiveness. He always felt personally responsible for the feelings of those around him.... he apologized for imagined rudeness and anticipated needs before they materialized. He was responsible, dependable, sensitive. Does this sound like a eulogy? It should. It is.

Maybe that boy still sleeps somewhere, deep inside him. Maybe he'll re-emmerge someday. I hope so. But for now, I'm left with someone I don't even know, and I can't keep pretending he's still the same.

It's the little things that keep getting me. I see his ridiculously happy car and know that it will never be parked at the top of my hill again. I'll never see his thin, dark form descending my driveway. There's a toothbrush in a drawer in the bathroom across the hall, but I'm afraid to touch it right now. There are books I have to return, though I've more than paid for them in dinners and diesel fuel and cigarettes by now.

He's getting everything back. And sometimes, I wished I could get some of mine back. Some of my pain, some of my loss, some of my worry and grief and desire... but he feels nothing. There's no hole in his life where I used to be. There's no twinge of regret when he thinks of calling me, then realizes he can't. He doesn't look at every damned CD, book, movie, street, house, school, restaurant, coffeehouse icecreamsshopbookstoremovietheatertreeparkstoplightpavementgrasstilecouchcarpetwatercrackerpen.... and think of me.

He doesn't think at all.

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