How do love someone who is infinitely unlovable? I wish someone could answer this for me. It’s not that I don’t love her. Not at all. I’m irrevocably in love with her. I just don’t know how to love her. She is cruel. She is irrational. She swears off intimacy, shuts me out, but lets every man with rough eyes and devilish grins inside. She promises me the world, her lips whispering untold futures where our hands are intertwined but then rests her head on other women’s shoulders.
She is both soft and hard. She could build you up but make you come plummeting down. Her smile was toxic and her touch acidic. Her existence drew you in like an insect to a light, but once close enough you were incinerated. I came to know my time with her as being the beginning of the end. The end of sanity, composure and rationality.
‘It’s not that I don’t love you!’ She screams into the night. I stare blankly at her pale face, her eyes ghostly in the streetlight. Her thin lips pull tightly against her teeth, as she screeches. She presses her hands into the side of her temples; her fingers weaving into her black curls.
‘Then what?’ I yell back, throwing my hands in the air.
‘I do love you. I do.’
‘I’m not good enough, Carly.’ I sigh, letting my hands fall by my side. I was so close to my car. I wanted to crawl inside. I wanted the privacy to cry inside the comfort of four small walls. I wanted to scream to the lyrics of love ballads and hate the world – hate love. ‘I’m never enough.’ Carly’s hands drop to her hips. She walks closer towards me, pauses, her eyes searching my face.
‘I want you, I do.’ She hesitates, eyes flickering. ‘I’m just not ready for it.’
‘You’re fucking killing me!’ I cry. ‘You’re killing me. Did you know that? I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I can’t breathe.’ The tears come now. ‘Wondering if you’re fucking Sal or Justin tonight. Wondering when you’ll call. Wondering when I’ll be enough!’ The words swarm out of my mouth, flooding the road between us. I pull my keys from my pocket and reach for my car. Her hand finds the inside of my elbow, fingers curling around to stop me. I open the car door. I pry away from her clutch and drive. I only allow myself to look back once I reach the end of the street. She stands there staring after me, her mouth open and hands hanging in defeat. Even in that moment, I think she resembles an iridescent angel in the glow of the streetlights.
Carly pulls me in close, her breath warm against my neck. She snuggles me from behind. We’re half way through our favourite series when she starts to tickle me, her fingers jabbing into my ribs and hips. Her soft chuckles of amusement are cut short when I pin her down.
‘Look here, ’ I start, raising my hands into a claw like shape. ‘I had these nails made especially pointy to plot my revenge.’ I wriggle my nails, threateningly. Carly laughs louder. I feel her body shake beneath me. Clearly my attempt at being menacing was a failure. She proceeds to tickle me and I let her, enjoying her touch. There’s a knock at the door and I fling myself out of the bed. Carly pulls the blankets up and I open my wardrobe quickly.
‘You girls want dinner?’ Mum’s head appears from around the door. I pretend to be pulling out clothes and nod, avoiding her gaze.
‘No thanks.’ Carly chimes. Mum smiles and shuts the door. I allow myself to relax. Carly frowns and turns Netflix up. I sit on the edge of the bed and turn my hands into claws again, smiling at Carly. She meets my eyes but all playfulness from before has left her. She’s serious again. I let my hands drop and draw circles with my nails on my knees.
‘You have to stop doing that.’ She growls in a low voice. I shrug and don’t look up. I repeat the same circle on my knee, watching the trail of white disappear as I push my nail down. ‘Sidney, you can’t live in two worlds. You can’t avoid the truth forever.’ She murmurs, the aggression in her tone gone.
‘I know, Carly.’ I mutter. Still not meeting her gaze. Still repeating the circles. The bed moves and I feel Jade coming closer. ‘She thinks it’s a phase, you know?’ I shrug.
‘I know but she’d understand.’
‘She doesn’t though. Like she doesn’t. She wants things to be easier for me and she thinks it’s just some weird transition I’m going through.’ Carly’s hands cup my face and she pulls it up. We’re staring at each other. I’m always surprised when I look into Carly’s eyes. They’re a mixture of honey and autumn. You see a sweetness and depth within them but you also sense something cold, chilling. I have caught myself shivering on numerous occasions after glancing into them.
‘How will we ever get married if you can’t tell your mum?’ She whispers, tilting her head, a small smile playing at her lips. She leans in and kisses my nose. ‘Love you.’ She coos. She lets go of my face and starts to collect her things. She checks her watch and sits next to me briefly.
‘Who is it tonight?’ I try not to let the hurt show in my voice.
‘Sal. I promised to hangout.’ I groan internally. ‘Hanging out’ was never just hanging out. It was kissing, cuddling, fucking. Everything I wanted. Everything she promised.
‘Can’t you just stay?’ I can hear the desperation in my voice.
‘Not tonight, Sid.’ She kisses my forehead and leaves.
No one tells you how to deal with unrequited love, how to love a girl who is in love with everyone else. How do you move on? How do you cope when she still smells of other people when she lies next to you? They don’t show you how to avoid splashing jealously on the walls of your life. My walls were crimson red, cracked and charred from the memories of her dimple lines and soft freckles scattered on her nose. No matter how hard I tried to repaint my walls and seal the fissures she left, new fractures would appear. She was unavoidable. Unescapable. Unattainable.
She’s spinning in circles, her hair flying out around her face. I watch, grinning as she begins to stumble closely to the pool. Her hands are out stretched, one hand encasing her drink, the other palm side up. Eyes closed, she spins until she needs to take another sip from her glass. When she stops, her feet stumble and her eyes grow wide. She stares at me, smirking as she places the empty glass on the table.
Her stride towards me is ludicrous, each step a struggle and she laughs as she notices her lack of coordination. She falls into my lap, making the day bed creak beneath our combined weight. Her face fills the nook between my neck and shoulder. Her breath is cool against my skin. She presses her lips softly into my neck; they graze from my ear lobe to collarbone. I feel her tongue trace circles on my neck. Her hands search my body, tracing the curves of my hips to my breasts. I pull her towards me. We fall into a mess. Our legs interwoven and hands interlocked.
I walk straight through the house and out to the pool. I ignore my housemates. I don’t bother taking off my shoes or clothes. I drop my bag seconds before I step in. Once beneath the water I scream. There was something I always found strangely therapeutic about being submerged in water. I have always loved the ocean. I loved being beneath the waves, feeling the power and pull of the ocean above. I’d try to lie flat on the sand and watch as the wave curls and crashes above me. I liked the muffled sounds beneath the water. I was in another world. A world far removed from this one.
I watched the bubbles of air swim towards the surface. I pushed off the pool floor and resurfaced, gulping in air. My housemates were standing at the edge, holding a towel and muttering concerns. I sunk back beneath the water, breathing out and waiting until I was resting on the pool floor. The sky was a blur of oranges and yellows; my housemate’s heads changing shapes in the ripples. When I resurfaced. I took the towel, walked inside and sat in the shower. My thoughts consumed by her.