381: Love in Damnation
Two lovers met in the most ordinary of situations. Strangers one day, friends the next, then lovers in the months to come.
They sit in a cheap car out by a desolate picnic area in the middle of the night, car lights on, passing back and forth a bag of her favourite chips because both of them refuse to smoke weed or do any illicit drugs. Because he’d leave her if she tried, and she’d get addicted if he tried. She’d follow him to the ends of the earth. Better in potato chips than drugs, he said. Rock Deli honey soy chicken. He doesn’t mind that flavour. Whatever she loves, it will become his love, unless he physically cannot come to love it. Her parents don’t know she’s left the house. He’s probably in trouble for lying, but he doesn’t think about that now because he just wants to be with his high school sweetheart.
Eventually the bag of chips is depleted and she is left only with the sticky preservatives coating her left index and thumb. He watches her in amusement as she sucks her fingers clean, the lingering taste of honey chicken resting on the carpet of his tongue. She turns to him, that greedy glint in her eye. She brought a second bag of chips, but that’s not what she’s interested in. She’s interested in tasting more of that godlike junk on his lips. With both of her hands she pulls his head closer to hers and she lowers her lips. They kiss but for a brief few seconds. He pulls away first. He registers the hurt look that graces her countenance before she pulls away herself and sits on the far right side, casting her eyes out of false interest for the cloudy sky above them. He sighs heavily and grasps one of her wrists in his fierce grip, but she doesn’t respond. He realises too slowly that she was expecting to make out with him. Even though they’re adults now, she’s still a silly little girl inside. He calls her name. She doesn’t respond. He looks for her eyes in the reflection of the window, but he sees nothing. He returns his hand to his lap and clenches his fists. He loves her, but she always wants so much more than what he can give her. They’ve been going over this for years. He’s still not comfortable with her because there’s something about her that’s off. Why does she always like kissing so much? Are other girls like this? He covers the thought quickly. She wouldn’t like it if any of his thoughts were about “other girls”, not that she would know. Although she was a possessive bitch, and she could read him like an encyclopedia. If she knew where to look for one, that is. He turned to look at her, but she was gone. Disappeared from the interior of the car. The car door was open. She’d wandered out into the darkness.
Then his blood began to boil. Always, always pulling silly things like this, that silly little girl, why didn’t he just go after a real woman instead? Some woman who didn’t have mental illnesses, a drama-worthy family, a fat girl who had difficulty losing weight…some woman who didn’t need to be kissed, who could be kissed out of surprise and enjoy it…he didn’t even leave the car. He simply reached over to close the door before he turned on the ignition and backed out of the driveway before deciding to head home. It wasn’t his car. He’d borrowed it from a friend. He was mad. He wanted to be in his own bed again. He wanted to leave that girl. That one time he told her he questioned their relationship while they were mad at each other tore at her heart. He didn’t know. He just wanted to tell her the truth. But she was shook and she said they were supposed to be together forever. Or something like that, he couldn’t remember. Those endless apologies, they just became meaningless over time. Driving away, he felt free. Like he was unfurling new wings that he could fly with. Wings that had been bound by leather string, and then released like a dove. He wasn’t sure if she could find her way back, it was so dark tonight, but now that he left her, he could pursue another. Who to pursue? A girl with long, sable hair, just like hers…a dazzling smile, endless legs, endless intelligence, endless conversation…her. What the…it struck him. There was no one else but her. He’d met many girls with her in university, none of them shaping up to be half of the expressive, wild girl he’d fallen in love with years ago. He looked for a good opportunity to make a U-turn and drove back at a faster speed, wondering if she was waiting for him. When he turned the ignition off and dashed out of the car, he saw a silhouette, a very dark shadow, sitting at one of the benches. He rushed to it, apologising, crying, his heart shaken, tossed, stomped upon, but still intact. If only the shadow had not dissipated once he had tried to wrap his arms around it…
He drove home, without his girl. The next morning, he called endlessly, sent some several desperate texts, checked with mutual friends. She had been last active on Facebook eight hours ago, maybe around the time he left her. He went to file a missing person’s report. If she was dead, then a body had never been found. Did he unwittingly fulfil one of her empty wishes to disappear?
All he knew was that he deeply regretted driving away from her that night. She could’ve run away, been abducted, killed, anything…and it was preventable. Could he ever love another again, he wasn’t sure. He felt cursed. Even though it was a combination of both of their actions that had led to this outcome. He loved her, he loved her, and he only knew when she was gone for good.