the cactus

hes gone.

he left you, because you are a strain on his emotions, and you dont blame him. but you do. you scream into your pillow until youre hoarse (you have a class to teach soon), you beat the mattress into submission, you cry until nothing but ragged moans come from your dried lips. youre so angry. how could he leave you?

you played by his rules. you didnt let his family know about you because youre his little secret after all. you didnt send love-y things to his main twitter account or his facebook, because youre his little secret. no one could know about you.

the relationship was doomed, and you knew it. you could cry and scream until you can never speak again but you know damn well that he had no intention of ever being serious with you. the worst thing to hear to the question ‘where do you see us in the future’ is ‘i dont know’.

and yet you persisted because you loved him. but things were different. this time you were bitter. this time you were angry. betrayed. how could he? you did everything right and he was ashamed of you and refused to give you your happy ending. and he was the one who broke it off? he broke it off? even that he took from you.

yes you were angry. he couldnt handle the guilt of not giving you a concrete answer on the status of your relationship but i love you he assured you. he always did.

with him out of the picture, you are painfully aware of how alone you are. your father sits you down and tells you that of course it was going to end badly, youre crazy and you cant date. what did you expect? youve been in therapy for five years but have you really been in therapy? after all, you work and study and date (the fucking horror) so really, you havent gotten better, and you never will, so you arent allowed to date.

bitterly you realize you fought your entire family for your right to be with someone who didnt even mention you to his. you say nothing since your father still has another hour of berating you for being so stupid for wanting love and committment. we’re all alone he, the married man, says. and you do nothing, say nothing.

you have to go to therapy, which apparently you dont really go to, its just a big moneysink apparently and on the way there you cry and want to throw yourself beneath the train tracks. you dream of a world without you. the only person who wants to hear what you have to say is a trained professional you pay an obscene amount per hour to confide in.

and when you get there, you want to kill him then throw yourself out the window. youre so angry. theres nothing good about this world, nothing good to say. your entire family ignores you, they treat you either like youre brain dead or a child, and belittle your accomplishments. sure its great that you got into a highly competitive job. sure its great that you beat nearly 1000 people for this job. but also what if you get fired? not so good now is it.

usually you try to take things in stride, work through them with your therapist. dr salmon is a good man. you trust him. hes patient and funny and young. you like him.

but today….today you are a hurricaine. today you want to rip your skin off in front of him and make him eat it. today you want to set the building on fire and smear a kids ice cream on the curb. you feel mean today, because the world has been mean to you. its only fucking fair.

and after an hour things seem less bad. slightly. but you leave. you wander around aimlessly through rio, windowshopping, talking to yourself in english. people stare. youre on the verge of a psychotic episode and you hope it happens soon. you want to lose control. emotions are sickening.

but then you see it. a small shop covered in leafy greeny plants and a middle age woman chain smoking while watching a portable tv. shes got small plants. shes got a cactus. you sheepishly tell her that youve never owned a plant before, and this rather grim looking woman suddenly opens up. oh, youre going to love it. plants are wonderful. and you believe her, you really do.

now absolutely do not water this she warns you with all the severity of someone selling a gremlin. it will die if it takes too much water. so once in a very long while…you water it just a little bit.

you do the appropriate thing, which is pay her and open your mouth and start bawling.

on the train ride home you think not of the steel tracks and the deadly wheels but keeping your plant safe. canti, lord of flames. hes a desert creature. youre both very similar. you cant be touched, you push people away, youre solitary….you protect canti from the crowded train.

he sits on your very messy dresser now but he doesnt care how messy it is. canti doesnt care if you post pictures of him online. canti is just glad to have a quiet corner in your room. for the cactus, you are enough. and thats enough for you too.