It starts by waking up out of breath one morning and you quickly get the feeling that you have lost something. You reach for your phone and it's there. You search for your keys, your favorite necklace, your purse, your wallet, a credit card and it's all where it should be. Even the dog is flopped down in his usual spot. But the feeling is still there.
So you begin to believe you've missed something.
What day is it? Friday? What's the date? Is it someone's birthday? Was I supposed to mail out that bill yesterday? Is it my day to pick up the kids? Was there a meeting today? You tear through your schedule trying to pin down what it is that you've missed because you just know you've missed something... right? No, you have not missed anything. And when you realize that is when you feel it.
Nothing is lost and you have not forgotten to water the plants or call your boss. Instead of losing you have blindly gained something. It now feels as if there is someone following you. A presence you can't describe and only see when it thinks you are not looking, a quick glance from the corner of your eye. At first it feels like a stranger then becomes a stranger who you could swear you have met before and finally it will become apart of you. You take it in as an extension of yourself, making room for it at the dinner table, offering it a cigarette on your break, even making room in your bed so it's obscure being will have a place to rest. It will be on it's best behavior at first and you begin to think you can willingly adopt this thing into your life. But you will only think this at first.
It will begin to act out. It will leave sinks running, push plates of food from the dinner table and let the dog out the front door. You will start to blame those you love for it's actions. They will be the reason things are going wrong and you'll feel you are realizing it's been their fault all along. You begin to drift from the rest with your arms wrapped securely around it. You must protect it, you are all it has and slowly it is becoming all you have as well.
Then one night you will be in bed and your lover will try to hold you and for the first time it will feel foreign to both of you. He just can't get close enough or seem to put his hands in the right place. It becomes uncomfortable. Your lover will turn and weep because he has forgotten how to hold you. You will turn and weep because you know that it is not him but because you have allowed it to lay between you.
Two things will happen the next day.
Your lover will have his suitcase packed or you will pack your lovers suitcase. If you pack his suitcase there will be a goodbye and if you don't a goodbye still remains. You look from the corner of your eye to the comforting shaded figure and wonder if you can leave it. After all the reason it acts out and demands your attention is simple: it is a manifestation of every rotting and blooming fear inside of you.
Living with it will be difficult and lonely but it will be familiar and, the most dangerous of words, comfortable. Saying goodbye to it will require you to allow your lover completely inside, to have him see you for the imperfect mess we all are and to single-handedly murder your fears.
So, if you are wise, you will beg your lover to stay and he will agree and let you have your moment to say goodbye to it. You will draw a warm bath and invite it to join you. This is the only time it will concede to letting you see it's face. And what a hideous face it will be.
The face is disfigured by doubt, wrinkled with rejection and invaded with tumors of self loathing that pulse from it's features. At first this will make it easier to do what you have to do but then the familiar warmth of his comfort will come over you. It will remind you that by allowing it to stay you will never have to face this again, never have to confront this bound flesh of fear.
You must be strong here and continue. You must guide its mangled face beneath the warm water and hold it there. When the struggle begins you will start to mourn your decision but you will continue and soon there will no longer be movement between your shaking hands. It is then that you will also sink but when you hit the bottom it will be next to the start of a path. A path that was created by fear but will eventually lead to what we all hope to find: the beating and bleeding heart of love.