You're the only man I've ever known who fully occupied the space of my fantasy lover. You are beautiful, smart, fun, and I blotched pinkly and uncontrollably from wanting you.
After our first sleepover, I smelled you on my fingers for a week. When you pumped into my mouth, fireworks burst and crackled in my head. I saw us from the inside - you as a shaft of light entering and receding from my dark tunnel. I looked up at your face and then looked at our arms, and they were made of starlight. When we touched tongues, I opened and oozed what must have been magma.
I came in a heart-shaped splash while sucking on you. When you licked my nipple, I tasted sugar. After your fingers and tongue had made me come until I was numb, after you'd come enough for me to bathe in, I saw suspended in midair a wonderful translucent mosaic of pink, purple, blue and mint green, the pieces shot through with gold and silver. Resting with you, I heard chatter and music from other worlds.
I had to send you away, but before that, I wrote our names in wine and oil on your back and rubbed them into your skin. I hope they penetrated deeper than that. I also wrote "you are my god" so your body would remember the way I loved you.
I had to send you away, because fantasy can't be perfectly translated into reality. I have a sunlit world full of my child, my students, my friends, my neighbours. You would come to me in the dark, and we would make a world just for us. You were my secret. I wanted those fleeting moments of bliss, told myself I deserved them, let my life disintegrate around them. For the sake of our nighttime magic, I let you mistreat me.
You'd been romancing me ardently for many weeks leading up to your breakup with your girlfriend, and when I asked you face-to-face if you wanted us to be an item, you said: "I kinda think so." This shades more easily into "yes" than "no".
The hole started to open up inside me the night you admitted over the phone that you didn't want to be sweethearts with me. I felt I'd been misled. But I loved you quite desperately, and I wasn't ready to let go, so we carried on as you wished.
Soon an unmistakable sense of betrayal crept inside me and widened the hole.
I couldn't be sure why I felt as I did until I saw your arms bloodied by needles. You'd described to me the stages of cocaine withdrawal and said, "That experiment is over." Not only was that not true, but one day when I really needed to see you, you lied to me repeatedly about what was keeping you from me. That lie was repeated over and over again.
The hole got bigger, and all I had to put in it were sadness and mistrust. That you left me outside your door when you'd invited me over or left me out of your plans when we'd been making plans together clawed at the inside of my hollowed-out core. Just before you went away to your birthday party, while you dressed and ate pizza, you discussed my sadness, seemed puzzled by it: "Nobody has dropped you on rocks," you said.
I had to hold myself around the middle. I thought I would explode and lose even my skin. I need to let the hole close so my joy has a solid place to live again.
Maybe someday I'll feel only happy about our adventures in love. For now, I'm wondering if I can recover, or perhaps discover, my self-respect.
As for my sadness, I still feel it sometimes, but that's right and proper. It's unnatural, wrong, improper to feel a raw, aching sadness when you're with the one you love. It's OK to feel sad when you can't be with the one you love. It's a natural feeling that will fade with time. But I know that it can't ever fade unless you are gone.
Liz Wertan is a pseudonym.