I pulled all your old love notes out of the special box I keep tucked away in the closet. I haven’t read them in… well, a really long time. Every so often I’ve pulled it, the box that is, down and held it in my lap. I could never bring myself to untie the string and so I’d put it back away. But tonight, for some reason, I opened the box.
The string was stiff but opened easily with a tug. I slowly read the first note you wrote that I actually allowed myself to keep (the previous ones I felt unworthy of). It was short, just a few sentences of your early love for me. I read another. And another and another.
I could see how your love bloomed for me within the lines. I paused at one. Remembering how you used to spend every moment you could with me. Even losing sleep. Telling me, so I thought, your every secret. Baring your soul.
You claimed I was the only love for you. You said I was beautiful. The most beautiful woman you’d ever met, inside and out. You said I was the only thing on your mind. Your only desire. I look away. How quickly that changed.
I hate how gullible I am. I hate myself for having loved you. For giving every part of me to you. For being vulnerable and loyal. Because these were all lies in the end, weren’t they?
When one day I found out quite by accident that you were penning erotic love notes to me at the same time you were trading images with her. When you spent all your time talking to her when you used to talk to me. When many months before, I noticed you stopped writing these love notes.
You didn’t need to pen them any longer. You had captured me. You had trapped me. You had shackled me in the dark. After a while, you even stopped throwing me bones because, really, why did you need to?
My hands were limp. My spirit was famished and weak. I realize now you had poisoned me, slipping delectable morsels before a starving dog. I gobbled them up. Fell helplessly into your arms. Released every last inhibition. And now my hair is falling out. My teeth are weak. I don’t have the strength to fight.
You leave me alone. You come back. You leave me again. I refuse to cry in front of you now. But when you’re away, like today, I’m crying. I hate myself. My weakness. I just wanted all these love notes to be true. To mean something.
I have no defense against your vicious attacks. I lick my wounds in silence and cry in the dark. I read every single one of these precious sweet lies you wrote to me long ago. I place them back in the box.
I, too, remember every time you went to her instead of me. I hold that in my heart as well, not because I’m bitter but instead, just in case I begin to forget and believe your words again. My heart aches. I wish it didn’t.
I dream of running away. Far, far away. Once I almost made it down the driveway before you caught me and carried me back inside. But I still dream, when it’s quiet and dark and I’m alone. I don’t have anywhere to go anyway.
Who wants something second-hand and simple and so much like….me? No. There’s not one in all the world who could drum up the pity to take in a poor dog like me.
Doomed. The ‘doomed romantic’ I sometimes joke. Though my mouth smiles, my eyes tell you it’s my truth. I tied the string. Is this to be the way it is? Am I to live out my days just like this?
You got what you wanted. I wish you’d let me go. I wish I wasn’t still crying. I hate myself. What have I become? Who am I, really? I bend and I fold and I twist this way and that. Your skillful hands fold me into the shape you want. I am paper. I am origami. I am… nothing anymore.
Maybe I never was. Perhaps, I thought as I slid the box back on its shelf and close the closet door, I have lied to my own self. I barely needed your help. I so desperately wanted to be loved deeply, I so desperately wanted to be desired, I so desperately wanted to all those things you said. So much so that I believed them.
Against my better judgment. Against the little warning signs. Let love reign! was my rally-cry. Oh you wretched woman! You dog!
I read all your love letters tonight. How pathetic is that? I read them all with different eyes though. I saw what you said between the lines. It wasn’t love that bloomed, was it? It wasn’t love for me.
tara caribou | ©2019
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