He stood shirtless with a cigarette hanging from his mouth, waiting for the electric stove to heat so he could light up. Priscilla, why do you like me? A question that jarred me a bit, and I laughed it off at first until realizing the seriousness of his eyes. Because you make me laugh. It was my first thought. And he thinks me skewed of mind because he says only I find him hysterical. Then I’ve been crazy from the beginning, eight years and counting. Finally the cigarette burned an orange hue, and ashes began to fall. Leaning against the sink, he said nothing, merely inhaling and exhaling.
Outside on the steps, he finally said aloud what I knew he had always felt. You’re better than me. You deserve so much better. Why have you not seen that?
How can I say it all to where he’ll believe. I’ve never judged him on his social class, his choices made all these years. I never see the man who fights addiction. I only see him. My friend. A man I once loved. The first I ever loved. But these months have tested our friendship. Devastated me. Made me crumble. And now we stand on the brink of rebirth, but it is a place where both hesitate to go. Never have we returned to the same wave length. Over the years it is only one at a time willing to venture back to what we had in the past.
I thought I had finally done it. I had lost you. And the thought of doing anything to lose you, our friendship, I just can’t, Priscilla.
And now we remain in limbo. Hearing him feel this, knowing how he holds me so dear, it makes me tremble. I kiss him on the forehead, the cheek, the arm, and I wrap myself around him. Eight years is so long to know a soul. I have seen him at his best, his worst, near death. And it is only now that we can share aloud the extent of the complexities of this strange relationship. I tell him the truth. He devastated me, but only because I had no power to save him. How scared I was that one day I’d be too late to get to him before overdose triumphed. And I see the scars on his wrists, and it terrifies me to think he forgot how precious he is to me and others.
I tell him it is no matter which beast lies within him. Every man I have loved is greatly flawed. Either in need to possess me, control me. To be distant as if across the world from me, to scathe at my emotions and abandon me. No, the beast he fights he is confronting, and he sees me in a way I wish the others could have before they broke me. But now, after so long, I feel loved in a way I’ve never known. We may never venture back to the romantic, but this friendship is unyielding, and has survived tribulations unlike anything either of us could have imagined.
No, I do not always understand him. At times his decisions break my heart. But I am unmoving. Never do I lose faith in the man I’ve known. Never do I think his potential forever lost. I only wish he could believe in himself as much as I do, but I suppose he thinks the same of me. He sees my love choices, my artistic fears, my moments of paralysis from acting, and I see him shaking his head wondering why I can’t see myself like he does me.
I do not always feel beautiful or creative, talented or deserving. There is good chance I am faking it so others won’t see me self questioning. And I am even more surprised when I am found to be these things by others. It perplexes me because I see myself as a paradox, an intellectual mess, a blind woman searching in the dark. At times I feel so alone. Other times overwhelmed by the presence of others. Logical and illogical. Accomplished and a failure. And then I realize, no one is fond of an insecure person. Often if this is sensed, it is only because I am over thinking it, and projecting it. So, I’ve worked on letting it go. Forgetting to worry about the opinions of others. Either they will befriend me or go. Why should it matter?
I wish I could see me like he does. I hope he will realize how much he is loved by those around him. We are two scarred souls that have refused to abandon one another. Though we have failed at being faithful to so much in life, it is this friendship that holds, and I cherish it so much more than others know.