She Loves Him

She loves him in a way that a dope addict loves cocaine.

In a way that won’t allow her to hate him like she wants to. Like she needs to. She loves him in a way that makes her stomach restrict when she sees him, and though all the alarms guarding her heart are sounding, she opens her arms to him, her soul to him, lets him inside of her physically, mentally, emotionally. He’s home inside of her. Comfortable there, as if he owns her body, her thoughts, her happiness and her sadness and her anger.

She loves him in a way that consumes her. Is it him that reeks havoc on her emotions, or is it just the love itself that torments her? Crushes hurt a little. Infatuation is rapture. But love? Love is deceitful and manipulative. It’s discreet at first; easy and blissful and natural and right. And then it swells and develops into this thing inside of you— deep inside of you, in the places you can’t reach, the places you didn’t know existed— and cultivates into some force you can no longer understand, and haven’t the power, nor the will to control. Love exploits happiness, but it breeds pain. A new kind of unheard of, inexplicable, unbearable pain. She feels that pain. Sometimes it’s almost physical. Like nausea, or a kick in the gut, or a blow to the chest that often leaves her breathless.

She loves him in a way that seizes her by her thoughts and doesn’t let go. She dwells on everything he’s ever said to her, everything he’s ever done to her. Remember that time he made you cry? Remember when you realized he stopped caring? Remember when all you wanted from your whole life that moment was to hear his voice but he didn’t call? Yes, of course she remembers. Her mind lingers in those places every hour of every day, every second of every night. Until the moment he’s there, of course. And then how quickly she forgets. Suddenly, she only remembers how much his smile provokes her own. How the scent of him leaves her blissfully lightheaded. How the sensation of his hands on her warms her from her skin all the way to her soul. Remember that jokes that made you laugh whenever he said it? Remember when you used to fall asleep in his arms, feeling happy and safe? Remember the sincerity in his voice the first time he told you he loves you?

She loves him in a way that steals her willpower. Of course she shouldn’t answer his calls, of course she shouldn’t agree to meet him. But she does anyway, because she is literally incapable of depriving herself of him. She knows once it’s all said and done, she’ll regret it. It’s almost as if he’s giving her a knife, but she’s cutting herself. Inflicting her own wounds. Welcoming the pain with open arms. But the happiness always seems so worth it; talking to him, being with him, having him for just a little while again provides the shortest, but the most heartening of reliefs.

She loves him a way that ruins her. She’s grown into the person for him. Now who will want her? Who else will accept her flaws as he had, who else will appreciate her strengths as he had? Or at least as she thought he had. As it turns out, it was all just a lie. She knows it was because he would still care if it hadn’t been. He’d still love her. He wouldn’t be hurting her in such a way. She loves him in a real way, but what way had he loved her? And what about all the hims after him? How will they love her? How can she love them?

She loves him in a way that teaches her. Now maybe she won’t fall so easily next time. Maybe she’ll have a better grip on her own emotions. Maybe she won’t play house, maybe she won’t give so much and accept nothing in return. Maybe next time she’ll be better equipped to recognize what’s real and isn’t. And then maybe next time, she’ll be love in a way that’s better.

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