in which i scribble when i shouldn't be scribbling

She has told herself that tonight will be the last time.
She has told herself the same thing so many times before but this time, this time, she really means it. She can’t take anymore. A line has to be drawn and she is drawing it tonight. If only it were as simple as she manages to make it sound. It is not; he is under her skin. He has been under her skin for almost five years and she hates it. Hates the fact that he is there, hates him for being there, hates herself for the fact that no matter what defences she builds against him they are never quite as inpenetratable as she imagines they are and somehow he always manages to find a crack and slide through it, burrowing under her skin, scorching through her veins, making her ache with a hated longing and so she has decided that after tonight there will be no more.

It’s not even as though this, whatever it is that they have, is enjoyable. The thing that Hallmark always forgets to tell you is that actually, love hurts. Her life is like a rollercoaster and she never was a fan of theme parks. The up and the down, it makes her sick and she struggles to keep up with his games. She holds his hand and she listens; she counsels him on his love life; she talks him through his ‘girl troubles’ and when the latest floozy gets back on the plane she picks up the pieces for him even as her own heart shatters around her. She laughs with him; she cries with him; she sits with him under the stars and she lets him tell her that he wishes they could be together. She swallows down the anger, bites back the bitter ‘then why the hell aren’t we, you coward?’ and she leans into him, lets herself believe that he means it and then when the moment is broken she pretends it doesn’t hurt, pretends that it doesn’t cripple her the way he acts around her in a crowd. Pretends it doesn’t matter that he is hers but not at all. Each and every time she feels another tiny piece of her heart break away never to be replaced and yet she is unable to stop herself from letting it happen time and time again. When it comes to him she is weak and the pain is almost a comfort. She lets him act for all the world like he doesn’t give a fuck; lets him avoid her, belittle her, apparently detest her and still, when he loses it finally, when the carefully constructed wall that he has built around himself comes tumbling down around him she can’t help but be the one to pick up the pieces, he is a jigsaw she knows by heart.

She wants to hold him, to be held by him. She wants to pretend like everything is alright. But it is not alright and she can no longer pretend. Nobody tells you that when your heart breaks it the pain is excruciating, and she has had more of the pain than she can stand. He will never belong to her. He will pretend to belong to a long string of other girls, each one lasting a summer or a winter. He will tell her he wishes he belonged only to her but in reality he will only ever belong to himself, and that is what kills her. For a long time she pretended that they were just two people, that they didn’t have baggage and fears and hopes and heartbreak; that they were one and one equalling two and that that was enough. Truth is, it is the one thing that is never enough and that is what has brought her to this; to make a stand, to pretend that his lies and his cowardice and his running and his games hasn’t broken her, made her lose sight of who she really is, in the hope that one day she won’t need to pretend. One day she will be able to say she doesn’t need him and she will mean it.

She has told herself that tonight will be the last time. It will be a clean break. There will be no more.
She hadn’t bargained on him looking so broken. She hadn’t bargained on him holding her; on looking into his eyes and seeing herself; on letting go being quite so hard. She finds that as she tries to walk away she only walks closer; that when he holds out his hand and offers to lead she only wants to follow; that when she steps into his embrace they really are the perfect fit and whilst she knows deep down that it will never work she can’t help but be tempted by an altogether different game of ‘lets pretend’ to the one she had set out to play. She takes his empty promises and she wraps them around her, she steals the warmth from his smile and she pretends, again, that she maybe believes that maybe this time it will change.