Three

There was something about him, almost childlike. I wanted so badly to save him and he wanted nothing more than to fly away. 

I don’t write about him often, not anymore. It’s strange how we can move people from First Class to Coach in our minds. He shouldn’t have been there at all, but that’s another story. I don’t think about him like I used to. I don’t worry about him anymore. Lately, it’s only when I have too much time or Tito’s or when someone sings Copperhead Road that I let myself wander to the back of the jet.

I never hear that song on the radio, but people love to sing it. It’s usually at the end of the night in some dirty dive bar and I’m usually drunk enough to forget he stomped on my heart. I used to send a clip as a reminder that I was reminded, but it’s been a while. I don’t think I’ll send another; he knows the words. 

He ruined music for me. I remember the day Prince died. We went to that shitty little bar and he played When Doves Cry. White Stripes. U2. Bleachers. Coldplay (thankfully). AC/DC. NIN. Van Morrison. James Taylor. Virtually every country song from the last 4 years includes a piece of him. Angel from Montgomery. If I hear Say Something one more fucking time! Piano Man. He ruined Billy Joel and I fucking hate him for it. 

I know if I reached out, he’d respond as if everything is fine and I’d go right back to the land of make believe. That’s the thing about boys like him, they make you believe it’s real. 

I used to think I was in love with his darkness. I thought I was in love with what he kept hidden, but I was just in love with the idea of being different from the others. Oh man, were there others. I was special. With me, he was vulnerable. He told me things he’d never say out loud. He called me his ‘rock’. He once told me he believed God spoke to him through me. I don’t believe in God, but it is still the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. 

I was talking to S about a girl he had been seeing. He talked about being vulnerable and completely open and how she knew everything. I asked why. What was it about her that allowed him to bare it all. It hit me all at once. I didn’t even let him get the words out, I do that too often. I should shut up more. 

“It’s because of who she is. There’s something in her life or inherent to who she is. You’d never really be with her, so you can be free.”

I started to think about the people in my life, people in the background. I think we all do it to some degree. We share details we’d never talk about in real life. They can’t hurt us. I bet if you asked those people they’d tell you they are your person. We hope they don’t realize they’re background people because we need them. We need them for when we’re bored or lonely or for when we run out of options. They have space in our lives, but they will never attend a Holiday party or meet our family or be included during the daytime. 

I was his background person. I thought his honesty was love when really it was freedom to discard his filth without consequence. He had no intention of letting me into his real life. 

It was bittersweet. All the pieces of our puzzle had finally come together. I think deep down I knew, but it wasn’t until that moment I understood why. 

It didn’t hurt like I thought it would. I will always love a part of him and I believe I am better for having known him. I learned strong could still be soft and even though he didn’t love me back, I needed to know it was possible. 

I hope he can say the same. I hope he is able to mend his relationships and if he can’t, I hope he finds a way to love himself through it. Most of all, I hope he finds whatever it is he’s been looking for. 

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