Something There in BetweenBy: S. Ferguson
Thank you for helping me find me.
I hated that Ron had made me take a night off. I hated nights off. In the calm and silence, my mind was too much.
I sat in the park for hours tonight just sitting on my bench. This had become my habit on my rare nights off, staring off into space. Sometimes, I cried. Sometimes, I just contemplated how it was possible to live through so much pain.
I always chain-smoked.
I didn’t have it in me to walk to our… I mean my empty apartment. Some of his things were still there, taunting me that he’s not coming back, reminding me that I am just another thing he left in an abandoned apartment, not caring enough to return for.
Memories flash through my brain. They’re burned into my head, and no amount of crying can purge them. Flashes of us.
Alex… saying he loved me.
Alex… teasing about how my bottom lip sometimes got caught on one of my front teeth when I was smiling really wide.
Making out in whatever private place we could find, no agenda, just holding each other, and being together. And, then, he was gone.
I take a shuddering breath, and look out into the nearly empty park. I was lucky that there was a small public park across from my apartment building; it was such an easy place to sit unnoticed for hours.
My heart is shattered. My life is in ruins. I run on autopilot: take a shower, go to work, and eat when I can’t ignore the hunger anymore… everything I’m expected to do. I am living for the sake of living, but I am not alive.
Restlessness takes over my mind. I have to do something to distract myself. There is only one thing that can numb the pain, if only for a few hours. I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I am an addict. I pull out my phone, and browse through my messages, picking a few random guys I’ve hooked up with before. I know one of them will want to hook up. For an hour, I can pretend to be wanted. I can pretend I am beautiful. I can pretend my chest isn’t a hollow, aching cavity.
Nate messages back quickly and, as usual, I head to his house for the customary booty call. I know he has a girlfriend, even though he tries to lie about it. He assumes I care. I have a few weak moments, where I wish I could be more than a fuck, but I know the score. I have no illusions. He doesn’t know his girlfriend calls me about every other week anyway, asking me if I’m sleeping with him. I give her different answers, depending on my mood. She knows the score too; the difference between us is she’s in denial. I know exactly what this is. And I know exactly what I am.
Worthless. Unwanted. Slut.
I’m the girl you call for a fun time. You don’t take me on a real date because why waste the money? You know you’re going to get laid. You don’t tell your friends about me; hell, you probably don’t even tell me your real name. You lie to me about your girlfriend and, in some cases, your wife. The worst part is I know all of this. I smile when I know you’re lying through your teeth. I nod when you tell me you want to fuck me. I smile when you lie, and tell me it’s not just a hook up to you. But I know the truth.
I put up with your sloppy attempts to make romantic moves on me. Most of the time, I’m secretly rolling my eyes. I exist in a world of illusions. Some are stronger than others, but in the end it’s all a lie.
Nate’s routine is the same. He pretends to want to watch a movie with me, usually some foreign language film about Muay Thai. He makes a few attempted gropes at my chest, and then tries to enter me without a condom. He got away with it once, but now I’m onto his tricks.
When he finishes, I feel disgusted with myself. Nausea bubbles in my stomach, as he rolls over and starts to snore. He doesn’t bother to say goodbye. I’m not the kind of girl that deserves the extra energy. I dress quietly and leave. I know he has roommates, but I’ve never seen any of them. Sometimes, I wonder if he does that intentionally. He’s never taken me anywhere public, despite fucking me off and on for the last few months. I walk out onto the street in front of his building, and light up a cigarette. Flipping through my phone, I find some music and start the walk home. Well, back to my park. I sit there and cry, lighting cigarette after cigarette.