It felt familiar at first. I was wrested from sleep in a forcible moment of yet another nightmare when I saw him there, next to me, sleeping silently. I felt safe in the darkness with the TV still blinking in the background. I wrapped his arms around me so I could drift back into slumber, but as we lay there together, a new anxiety washed over me. I had thought that I had the resolve to not find myself here again, but here I am. Something about it always feels so good – but if it felt so good, why did I break up with him? God, I am not going to fall back asleep very quickly, am I. I’m going to have to battle the demons that mete out the balance of: do the things that make me feel good in the moment outweigh how unhappy he makes me? Ugh. I am not going to be fully rested tomorrow morning, which means I will not have a good day at work, and I also know that no matter how much time I spend lying here thinking about these questions, I still will never know. I find this paradox to be particularly obnoxious because of course I consider myself to be a strong woman, but the creature comforts of skin and skin contact with someone you love just cannot be imitated. I can’t order that feeling off Amazon. I can’t mimic it with someone new.
We never talked about why I’m unhappy, which I know is my fault. We’re just here, again, and now that we both know I’m unhappy it feels like a pittance. A consolation prize. An imitation of something that used to make sense but now just makes me feel okay from time to time. I love him, but if I love him, why do I feel like this? Conflicted. I’m so conflicted. Like I should kick him out of bed and scream until he leaves, or I should hold on tighter and make sure he stays forever. What a battle. What a horrible, irrelevant, empty battle.
I’m afraid to tell him why he makes me unhappy because I’m afraid he won’t care, and he won’t change, and he won’t try, and that I’ll still be with him afterwards. It’s easier for me to not tell him why I’m unhappy, and not know that he doesn’t care, and still fuck him, than to face the defeat of knowing that I will probably definitely still keep doing this even after I know that he doesn’t give a shit about my happiness. Ignorance is bliss, and this isn’t bliss but it’s a good enough knock off. For now. I would like the real thing, but how do I navigate the chasm between where I am now and where I would like to be. I thought that we would be sailing off into our mutual bliss by now, but instead there are storms ahead, and I am looking over the edge at that little dinghy, knowing full well I could hop in it right now and row myself back towards the sunshine. I could jump ship with nothing but my faith in myself and – and, what? Starve in the middle of the ocean by myself? I can’t row a boat for days on end, my arms will fall off. I don’t want to die of dehydration in the middle of the ocean. I don’t want to die here with him, either. I have to take control. Why is he the captain of this ship? Why isn’t he the disgruntled crew, looking for an escape? Why haven’t I committed mutiny yet? I could steer this boat into something better, if only I knew how. Why don’t I know how?
I have to wake up in three hours. I can’t sleep at all. It’s going to be a bad day at work tomorrow. Maybe I should just drown myself. I know I’m no pirate, but I’ll get drunk nonetheless, and wait here forever until I can put my feet back on solid ground. Then – I’ll run away.