You fell in love with an illusion. You fell hard and deep for something which never existed. The golden days that we created together were the twisted reflections of my manipulative hold over you. I know how anxious you were to try to recover the golden period. You poured your beautiful heart into securing the impossible. I know that my silences, my verbal violence, the cheating and the lies, my perfidious control of you was brutal, malicious and devastating. I understand that the whole avalanche of manipulative techniques I applied to you, in savage wave after insidious wave crushed your self-esteem, mauled your sanity and shattered your world. This brutality was nothing compared to the aftermath.
For now you have slipped away from my tight, choking grip. I know however that you sit looking from the window where you used to watch for me strolling up the driveway, a bouquet in my hands and the pain still wracks you as you remember how you fell in love with someone who was not real. Memory after memory stirs from within, an endless loop of ‘best of’ moments that you want to stop remembering but you cannot. It hurts yet you still want to remember because even as the pain rises in your chest, you still feel the flicker of your love for me and you still cherish that. Like the drug addict, you know that line of cocaine is no good for you but still you need to snort it. The cold silences may no longer chill our living room. The sting of my slap across your cheek has long since faded. The barbed comments I fired your way each day have lost their power to wound. All of that has gone. The one lingering, tortuous pain that still sits deep within you is the knowledge that you were in love with an illusion No matter how much you discuss it with your friends, the earnest hours with your therapist and the pile of books about healing that are stacked up besides your favourite chair (which I always tried to sit in before you), none of them help take away that awful aching.
You can manage the shame of being fooled. You take a strange pride in having given your all to such a despicable person because that is the person you are. Honest, decent and a provider of unconditional love. You do not want that to change. You do not want to lose the empathy for which you are renown. The battered bank balance will repair (eventually) and the dosage of the medication will come down (your doctor has said as such in soothing tones). The strength of character which made me choose you means you can deal with all of these things. The one thing that will never leave is that deep-seated pain that you loved a ghost. Your head will eventually accept what happened, that you were charmed, entranced and enchanted and you never stood a chance. That was why you were chosen. Emotionally, you will never lose that dull ache as you sit and reminisce about our time together and how wonderful being in love with me was. Your heart will never accept that it was not real.
That crack, that fracture, that tiny chink that remains from your frenetic and devastating time with me shall always remain. It is through it that I can return as I slip, shadow like into your heart through that unhealed wound. That is why we did what we did; so we always had a way back in. For all of the strength that you exhibit through never taking a call from us, from changing email accounts, from burning the pictures and changing mobile numbers, you are never truly safe. Yes, you manage to evade the snaking tendrils that we uncoiled to try to haul you back under our spell. You will have to maintain that vigilance for the rest of your life. Our polluting influence, if ever allowed near you again, will creep and trickle through the hole that will never seal. You are consigned to a lifetime of wariness and maintain your defences because that damage is permanent.
You only ever love the person you thought I was.