I look at him before I walk out the door, and I wonder if this is the last time I’ll ever see him. Or, no – that’s too fatalistic. That’s not what I mean. What I really wonder is: how much longer? Time is ceaselessly marching on, despite my best efforts to stop it in its tracks, and as I leave this place with him in it, the dread of tomorrow settles in. Which isn’t to say that the dread of today has completely dissipated – these whimsical insecurities are still erupting in the back of my mind at an every increasing pace, and I can’t help but wonder which one of this nagging little demons will draw blood first. I’ve been making a habit of indulging my demons, which is why it’s easy for me to internalize any passing criticism as a volcano of my own paucity, in all it resplendent incarnations, be it sexual or moral or emotional or intellectual or physical or financial or social. But that’s okay, because I’ve made it through today and we are onto tomorrow at any moment now. I guess I am slugging my way through this one day at a time. Which probably isn’t how love or life are supposed to work, but it’s working for me, although maybe “working” is the wrong word. Perhaps I mean “barely functioning but at least not yet dead.” I am trying to be optimistic. I feel outpaced here. I feel the blankness inside me when I’m around him. The gaping, empty holes where my personality used to be and that are now just…desolate. This is becoming a mirror for all the things about myself that I slaughtered years ago in order to get someone who didn’t love me to like me just enough to make all of these feel worthwhile. The person I used to be. The person I wanted to be. The person I am absolutely not right now. Fuck. I don’t like this. But I also didn’t like the winnowing tedium that was me, billowing haphazardly through a life I tried not to notice. Waking up sucks. Waking up here is fine, though, because I know that there are a billion places worse than this that I could be. But I probably shouldn’t think like that because that’s how I got here in the first place. I’m supposed to be building a better dream for myself, but for some reason that tricky bastard time keeps running away from me. Time is elusive. I can never grasp it – it always seems to slip into pursuits that I don’t really enjoy and evade me when I need it the most. I guess I just wish I were a part of the pantheon that I always thought I belonged to. I thought I was smarter than this, but the world has done nothing for me if not let me know that, no, I am not a god among women. I am person among people, which feels grey, and now I am desperately scrambling to be anything other than just another – both in the grand scheme of things and also as I walk out the door and see him there. I might be fated to be just another. Perhaps destiny is not nearly as grand or glittery as I believed it would be when I was younger. Or perhaps arriving in the moment takes the excitement out of the years of anticipation. I am here, and I could be anywhere, and it would all feel the same. I think I liked getting here better than being here, because now that I am here I am faced with the unsavory onus of maintaining. But I don’t want to maintain – it’s not glamorous. I want to keep lurching forward towards something unattainable. I want to attain something that doesn’t feel like a finish line. I want the perpetual thrill, but I am afraid that death is the only thing leading in that direction. I don’t even drink that much anymore. Which is probably why I feel like I’m starting to become everybody else and less myself – there was too much pain in being myself, so I gave it up. Unfortunately, I gave up the rest of the world, too, and now I’m trapped here, dismerged from people, culture, time. Looking at the people around me in anger, wondering, “Why don’t you make it worth my while to be here?” Eh, fine, whatever, I will eventually finish watching all these TV shows, I will have caught up with all the conversations I wish I were having in my head, I will be whole. So I look at him, and I wonder, “When will he make me whole?” And the minute he makes me whole, is that when he will be taken away from me? I look at him one more time, because if this minute he makes me whole, then it will all be worth it, even if this is the last time I look at him.