This Must Be the Place — Part 3: Love Me ’Til My Heart Stops
I could live without human interaction. I didn’t need it. Or moreso, they didn’t need it. They only needed to be careful around me. Because I was not good for this world.
Or so they would make me feel. They see my loneliness. They see I’m completely alone and nobody cares. Nobody asks the time of day anymore. Everybody’s so wrapped up in their own little circle. Their own little world knit carefully to avoid anybody new to their lives. At least I have an excuse. I don’t give the world of knowing the pleasure that I must, but I take the pleasure in them knowing how I loathe each and every soul that crosses me.
And then there she appeared. Right in front of me as I ate my burger as sudden as she had gone. I didn’t even have any trouble recognizing her. Sure, she was my age now and that’s a lot of time on the face, the body, the skin. But it still didn’t take much to recognize the locks, the eyes, and the stupid fucking earrings.
“Hi,” she said after a long pause as I sat there with my burger nearly in my mouth unmoving.
“You again.” I responded, trying my best to shed the misanthropy I had adopted, if only for a proper conversation to start. “It’s been a long time.”
“Has it?” She shifted uncomfortably in the cramped diner booth she had to form in. If I had known this shit was coming, I would have gotten a burger at a better place. “I didn’t notice.”
“No, I don’t suppose you would have, considering the circumstances. The year is now 2054 and we have been able to use the fountain of youth to keep everyone young for longer.”
“Oh my god, tell me that’s not true.”
“It isn’t. It’s 2013. I was joking.”
She didn’t even crack a smile. Shit, that must have a tough weight on you.
“You do know what happened to you, right?” I asked.
“A lot better than you do. Just because I stopped existing doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.”
“… Fair enough. Want a burger?”
She shook her head and looked out the window to the city she had lost herself from.
“Know if your parents remember you suddenly? Or your friends?” I asked.
“Alright, I figured something that would help is omniscience on the situation, but hey, you want a phone book?”
“Is that sarcasm?”
“No.” I said sarcastically. She took a moment and then continued the conversation…
“What did you do to bring me back?”
“Nothing special. I stopped loving you.”
“You don’t keep loving someone out of your life for twenty plus years. Something else must’ve happened.”
“… I thought how much I hate the world.”
She looked out the window again. “You hated me?”
My burger was finished and so I stared at my plate. “Don’t I get to?”
She looked back at me, this time with a fire in her eyes. “Me first.”
Shit, I should’ve expected this coming. She continued “I was lost for decades. Decades, I have suddenly just not been here anymore. And nobody could help me or save me. Except you. And this was all your fault to begin with.”
“I had no idea, Maria, if I could take it back I would.”
“But you can’t. And so you’re going to have to live with this guilt. You don’t get that closure that just because I’m back in the world, I forgive you or let you feel however you want about me.”
“What the fuck was I supposed to do? What? Stop being human. Become a stone entirely? Know my place?”
“Do you even remember why you loved me?”
“It was at least 20 years ago, I don’t need to remember a damn thing. You deserted me in the end. Choice or not, you didn’t have to live with it. Feeling people call you crazy. Knowing everyone that matters to you will never stick around. Taking the fact that this is your fault all the way to the grave.”
“You’re not dead yet.”
“I feel dead and you’re not helping.”
“There are worse things to go through than death and I just went through it. So don’t act like the victim here. I was the one taken. I am the one who is only back because you happen to hate me now. I have a lot of adjusting to do, moments I will never get, and in the end, and it is all your fault, Da — “
And then I remembered it. It was in the back of my head trying to press out since she asked “Do you even remember why you loved me?” and then the levee broke and it all came flooding in. The youthful exuberance, the nostalgic atmosphere, the knowledge that if life is this good, nothing could get worse, every second, every breath I had put forth to knowing her was coming back in…
And then I remembered what happens when I love and tried to put the pieces back and shove it in the closet, but it was too late.
Maria was gone.
But not a single word we exchanged at this burger stand left my mind.
So those are the terms, huh? Hate or love. Well, time to make a choice, I guess.
I understand how the saying goes. I understand that people think it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but I can’t be so selfish. I can’t pretend I’m the one who lost more than the ones who disappear from this. I may be pained in myself with the anguish of knowing that this is my world and it is a world of emptiness and solitude, no matter how hard I try. But these people have lost more. They have lost their very existence, their very wish to be in this world is denied the moment I fall in love with them.
I don’t the origin of this… disease of my reality or whatever… is. I don’t know why this happens. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t care. I don’t want to give it back, I want to destroy it. I want to get rid of it. I want it out of this world, this curse — I want to make it suffer the way it makes me suffer, the way I feel that these girls don’t get to anymore.
It started when I was five. It started with Maria. Five years old is no age to lose everything.
And so, here I am. Collecting my memories up until this point in my story. To explain myself and to answer for the crimes I never knowingly commit in the first place, this shroud of loneliness I never requested, and to ask for forgiveness I never should have needed to ask and I know I will never get.
To the person who finds this, my comfort and swiftness with this act was my priority, so please excuse all the blood.