It didn’t always hurt. It wasn’t all bad. We were high-school sweethearts once. Full to bursting with young love, that blinding, optimistic rush of some hot feeling when eyes meet and linger across a crowded room, quick, fumbled young love, sloppy, self-conscious kisses in the almost-dark. “You’re everything to me. I will never hurt you,” he lied in a heart-breakingly earnest church-whisper.
There was a time when I felt his presence so intensely it could fill a room, sucking the air out of it. I would look up and over, find him–my life line–and he’d flash that knowing smile and I’d exhale without warning, sharply, like I’d been punched in the gut. There was a time when his spotlight shined directly on me, the star of his show, his first love, his muse, his everything and I was safe and warm. But somewhere along the way we got tripped up, went to bed angry over who left the dish in the sink, and his moods became hard and harder until he stopped showing emotion while sober, even when it would make all the difference, even when I really needed him.