What to expect when you’re not expecting love

I tried to steel my heart so you wouldn’t steal my heart. I could never get you, so I had to forget you.

I didn’t board your flight of fantasy because my emotional baggage weighed more than fifteen kilos. I looked both ways before crossing the one-way street of unrequited love; and was still run over by a truck of apathy driven by your drunken sweet nothings. Girls like me who aren’t athletic shouldn’t fall for players like you.

I was told courage can be found in liquid form. I was told ecstasy could be swallowed whole. I saw how much easier it was to live in denial than to live in an empty home.

Expert opinion on the matter suggested I cut you out from every avenue of communication; but I couldn’t find any scissors to go through with it. There was no manual on how to forget words whispered one careless night, no laser to erase those memories I tattooed on to the folds of my brain. I asked the pharmacist for paracetamol to relieve me of this delirium you put my body in; maybe overdosing on Tylenol would help get rid of the ache in my chest from having to see you even when you weren’t in front of me.

How many sheep must I count before you stop skipping over and over the fence in my head? Freud held no answers for why I dreamt about you nearly every night till I was awoken by the sweet embrace of a reality in which you weren’t real. When I knocked on your door, it displayed no sign warning me of the dangers that lay within. When you held your hand out for mine to hold, no software warned me that this site was dangerous. I ignored the voice that asked me if I was sure I wished to proceed. I double-clicked yes.

I searched high and low, when I was high and low, for answers to explain why our time together was so, too. No library held an Oxford Encyclopaedia of Delusion, to illustrate why I was unsure if you even happened to me, or if I made you up from the fabric of my dreams, as a companion for my own wretched loneliness.

How can I logically interpret why it was my heart and not hers that you chose to toy with, to toss back and forth first enthusiastically — then abandon in favour of a new plaything? How do I wash off the dust of our shared past from my body? What detergent must I use to rid my clothes of the lingering traces of your existence in my life? Your smell clings to my white t-shirt, fresh like the pain it demands, stubborn like your refusal to acknowledge my presence.

I stood outside your window in the rain, asking you to love me. I held up a boom-box and played all your favourite songs. You didn’t Say Anything.

I have scratched my skin raw trying to get you out from underneath it. I’ve done everything to forget anything. I screamed at the universe, begging for a way to delete you from my life. I attempted to murder your memory.

You only died the day you came alive on paper.