I stayed. Because I’m loyal and in love, and prioritize what matters.

Because when you asked if I wanted to spend the rest of my days by your side, and we both know what that means, I gave it some thought and said that I did. It meant everything. It should mean everything to both of us. It should.

Because you’re old enough to understand that words matter, your word matters, and you can’t just walk away and drop people whenever you’re upset or frustrated. You don’t throw people away. You have to actually give something to get it. And then you relish more, deeper, longer.

Because of the promises I made myself, myself, not you. That I would be the best version of myself, give every bit of energy and effort I had, like my toughest workout, an important gift, and a letter of gratitude. Give, so I could say that I didn’t have any more left. You can’t say that.

Because I put it first, the everything came first, as it should, since it didn’t in the past and I was righting that in the present. My present now, “the only now we’ve got,” I used to say and you’d mock me. You didn’t believe in that quasi spiritual stuff. You came across like you were about promises, hard and certain promises, but you never kept a single one you gave me. You haven’t kept many to anyone as a matter of fact.

Because I want everyone to know what you did to me and how you did it. If only to evoke some empathy not just for me, not only for me, but for you, for the sad, shallow, heartless, unconscious and numb, broken man you are. So maybe someone can see the darkness from the get-go, and avoid the crushing pain, avoid falling into a spinning cycle of false love that erodes layers of skin, leaving deep bloody gashes, so deep as if they were self-inflicted. The cuts that take forever to stop bleeding and leave scars that suffocate with humiliation. Humiliated to be alive, whatever “alive” means.

Because I do have that piece of me, the one that doesn’t want me to be here at all. It’s a piece that feels new, but unshakeable, returning in fast-moving, unstopping moments re-playing on repeat, with accompanying soundtracks of music and nature, and plain old words – unescapable, unavoidable, in sleep and while awake – scenes that can’t be paused, torturous moments that scream “this is all it will ever be,” and that piece of me peers out. What would really be the difference it asks. It tests me, to seriously contemplate how I will continue, continue like this?

Because it’s all stupid and meaningless. And I am here already, past the moment that launched the crushing torment. Stuck with a mirror of myself. All I can do is follow my breath in and out, and let it go. All I can do is stay.

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