So your break-up was hard and it left you wounded, the injuries both physical but mainly emotional and you have kept yourself locked away for months now. Seeking isolation as a means to address the upset that you have experienced and vowing never to date again. Your resolve has increased, with daily deliverances as to what he did mounting up as you hear about an accumulation of abhorrent actions. You decided to focus on what mattered to you and thus relationships were consigned to the back of your mind. Feeling stronger, the wounds healing yet not healed you face repeated invitations from your well-meaning friends, friends who have supported you through this unpleasant period of your life, to come out of hiding and let yourself shine once more. You agree and after extensive preparation you emáerge,like a hibernating creature and join your friends in that bar that has been refurbished and is a honey pot for all the beautiful creatures.
I see you stood there at the bar. You are stood slightly apart from your friends as if seeking to preserve your personal space. I see conversation is directed your way and recognise that your friends are paying you what I would regard as an excessive level of attention as if they are repeatedly checking that you are okay. Occasionally hands touch your arm by way of reassurance and heads lean in as soft faces radiate kind expressions. I know you are being looked after. I know that you are being protected and that means you have been wounded. I scent the blood that has been spilled in your past and wait until the ‘phones are wielded to take various posed photographs. Time to approach.
I make my way to the bar and slightly turn to observe you and your friends as the photos continue. One catches my eye and I smile. She responds with her own smile and nudges her friend.
“Would you like me to take one of you all?” I ask as I move alongside you. Nods of appreciation follow and I am handed phone after phone as I commit your group photo to a digital memory. I engage in polite yet playful conversation with you all but remain focussed on your reactions. You are hesitant but laughing at my words, seemingly wanting to embrace them yet unsure as to whether you should. I pull out my own phone and take a picture of you all and then alter the focus so the lens homes in on you and you alone as I take a burst of pictures before wishing you an enjoyable evening and withdrawing to my waiting lieutenants.
It is not long before a search of your image has given me your name and I am able to ascertain some of your interests from your Face book profile which include the fact that you are a keen dancer and have won several dance competitions. I do some research into dance competitions for young men and prepare my hook of having been a dancer in my youth although a football injury put paid to my burgeoning progress. I absorb a few key elements of terminology and then make my move towards you. I flick the first domino and it begins to fall into the second.
We talk. We drink. We dance. I learn more about you. I impress judging by your friends’ responses. I secure your number and give you mine. I text courteously the next day. A dinner date is secured. The date goes well. I learn more about you, compiling my dossier about you as a follow-up date is readily agreed to. I surprise you with tickets to a ballet performance. You are delighted. The dominos keep tumbling. Your resistance evaporates. Date three is a pushover and then the dates become more frequent. I am in your house. I am in your bed. I am inside you. Three weeks becomes three months. The dominos keep tumbling as I know all about your past. I know all about your present too from my snooping. I engulf you in my world my lieutenants circling about you. I grab the wool and pull it over your supporters’ eyes, recruiting two of them into my fold. I raise you up. I draw you in. I flatter and charm.
Your time is with me. Your phone full of my love. Your weekends are filled by me. I stay at yours and you at mine. The toothbrush appears and then the overnight bag which remains in place. You wash the clothes for me and then I am there more than I am not. I disconnect those who serve no purpose from your network but you seem not to notice. Your eyes show me how enchanted you are as those dominos continue to tumble. The holidays are booked as I start to invade your future. I check your phone for you and relay messages.
I read your post but you do not mind as I do it when you are busy to help you out. Naturally. The salami slices as I impose my world on you and you readily submit. I know all your friends, I know all about your work, your hobbies and your family. I am regarded as the ideal tonic after ‘him’ who we laugh about and who I know is one of my brethren but I never tell you. Your days are mapped out for you by me and you tell me often how lucky you feel. I do not disagree. I move in but keep my own house as ‘the market is not right to sell just now’. That bolthole is going nowhere. The social circle is established. You are elated. The world is offered to you and as the dominos clack clack clack you accept it all. The ring appears and you say yes. A date is set and plans are made as I give you the future. The tendrils are all around you, the fuel lines in place but of course you do not notice. I am with you, in you and around you. You sit at breakfast admiring the glinting ring on your finger as you remark.
“Do you know it is six months since we met in that bar? Who’d have thought it?”
I send you that special smile and you fail to notice my eyes blacken for an instant because you are still yet to discover that one thing leads to another.