Story -

Unsteady Feet

Maybe I’ve changed too much to love you. I feel as though I am as hollow as the empty caves that sit on the cliff faces, once filled with life, only to be remnants of what was.
I allowed you to fill me, knowing it was not to be, taking strength from the youthful girl who adored you so much. And now I sit, having gutted you through, watching your blood drip and your eyes fade, feeling remorse for the pain I caused, knowing I could have had it end another way.
I’m sorry that I let you love me, knowing I could not reciprocate it, I’m sorry for rushing you into my storm and leaving you once again, a gun in your hand, no notes this time my love for you to leave in the sand. I was ruthless and I bled and broke you, leaving your dehydrated being out for the vultures to have their way. Whilst I sit in my ivory tower, amazed that the pain you caused me all those years ago has led to you being the one who is broken.
I remember clearly you saying you’d break my heart – and now? I watch with blurry eyes as you plead for my love, only for me to reject you, repeatedly. I am sorry for being so cruel, I didn’t realise the love you had for me, I don’t think I knew the magnitude of it. Perhaps I still saw you as that boy who broke my heart so many times before, not this man ready to make our home.
I didn’t mean to take revenge - I didn’t mean to have you morph into this; I didn’t realise I had that power if I’m being completely honest.  And now I stand watching you fade away, wondering if it was right. It seemed I as the one destined to leave you. And for being the one that got away? I am truly sorry.  I will never forget you though, truly a light in my life, someone who was a constant when I was broken, and for that I am grateful. Alpaca, I fear the damage will be too great, I have learnt my lesson and I want you to be happy. You asked me to write you a letter, when we were still dating, and I did, but I have finally finished our story, and as sad as I am to lose you, I am relieved as I can go on as this new woman and with a shaky heart and unsteady feet, finally find her. So here goes.
You asked me to write you our love story, and I have possibly re written it 10 times and it just never comes out the same. So, I thought what makes me comfortable? How can I write this so that it is me writing and not some ridiculous teenage novel you’d find in a bookstore? So instead, I decided to write to you.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 19, had only just discovered my freedom and was still extremely naïve. You must have been about 24, and I had no clue at that time that you would have such an impact on my life. I was curious about you, so loud and carefree – you didn’t give a damn what people thought and your cockiness annoyed the shit out of me. I couldn’t understand why you got under my skin, you were just my brother’s friend after all, and furthermore I was not inclined to see you, or even get to know you, but still, I was intrigued.

And then, a few months later, we met again. And nothing had changed, you were just as boisterous as before, only I had. I remember hearing your voice as I came out the kitchen and immediately knowing who it was. And that was the first night I got ridiculously inebriated. All from a silly little game called ride the bus. “Matthew, I want to see what your sister is like wasted,” you yelled and from there, it was tickets. To be honest I was really excited that I was playing with you guys and that you were giving me the time of day.  But still, I didn’t have feelings for you, I was just…. Curious as to how the hell you could be so balsy, I mean didn’t you know that I was the good one? Em didn’t get wasted, and she sure as hell didn’t hang out with Matthew’s dickish friends.
You were that guy I wasn’t meant to fall for, if you told me that night at the lodge that we’d be here today? I’d have not believed you. After that night I never actually thought about you again, until… Origin. I remember running down the queue and seeing you and doing an honest to goodness take back. I wasn’t that same girl you had gotten drunk years prior. I was a little more street smart and was so glad I could have something to show you for once.  It was that night I started to fall for you and I only realise it now, and I can’t say what it was or how, but I remember taking your hand while we were walking up the stairs and looking back to see you staring at me and it gives me butterflies to this day. But! We were on a mission and no such time for those feelings. We were bumbling and I did not mix my drugs with lovey dovey feelings, no no.
I’m not even sure how, but I just decided you were mine over that time and I remember making a point to show it – so brave, so naïve. But…. You still had Sam 😊. And I couldn’t compete with that, I was really intimidated by the fact you guys had dated so long.
But man did you confuse me, and it drove me absolutely mental. One minute you’d be there, and we’d get so close and suddenly I’d not hear from you at all, and that hurt. It really hurt a lot. I told myself over again that “friends” don’t do that to each other and that we were only friends and I was just hurt because you shouldn’t have felt you needed to pull away because there was nothing between us, but little did I know it wasn’t the fact that you were being an asshole mate, I was heartbroken because I was so besotted with you and I didn’t understand how you could turn so cold so quickly and then act as though nothing had ever happened.
I’ll never forget how honest you’d become when you were drunk. And it was those drunken slurs that drove me to hang on, otherwise, I’d probably have let you go a long time ago. You can give drunk Chris a pat on the shoulder, because he had your back.  I’m not too sure exactly where it began, but our little moments together soon became very special to me, and I didn’t exactly understand it, but you just were someone I could be myself around and never did I feel like I had to pretend to be someone else or hide the shit I’d done, it was just you. I’ll never forget our walk at splashy fen, we bumped into each other the one night and we ended up taking a walk past the market and you took my hand and said that you could see yourself loving me. You called it a “Sam type love.” You then mumbled something about my brother, got distracted and I lost you to splashy. I was honestly so surprised; I had come to accept that you didn’t see me as anything more than just friends. And after that it was the same old – your guard was up, and I was shut out.
And that’s pretty much how we were for several years I suppose, this quiet chemistry flowing under the torrent and silly mind games really.
I tried so hard to be distant towards you, and as soon as I got that under control you would come in and do something ridiculous that would throw me off my game all over again.  Even though our 7 years has been manic, there was a lot of distance and silence between us too, and it was in those moments I was able to distance myself and get over you in a way I suppose. I think a mistake I made in our friendship that caused the amount of hurt I led myself into was that I expected too much of you.
 I expected this weird fairy tale, sweep you off your feet type love and hyped a lot of it up, when I knew exactly what was going on really, perhaps in the beginning you were very into me, but I think a lot of the shimmer wore off when I went off on a bender, and I completely get it, I wouldn’t want to date or be with someone that unstable… I remember seeing it as special, that day you had to sit with me whilst I was on a come down, as I was scared I was going to do something dangerous to myself, and there you were, this boy I loved so much, walking me up and down until the sun rose and I was finally able to close my eyes without seeing things. And you were quiet the entire time, I don’t recall you saying word, but you knew exactly what to do and how ground me. And perhaps at first it was funny, seeing this girl who was once so young and naïve dabble in the dark stuff, but I don’t think anyone knew how serious it would get.
But still, I duped myself a lot into seeing something else.
But in all that time, that craziness, you were still you, quiet brooding you. You would get this look on your face sometimes when we were out and about, and I would turn to you and you’d just be looking at me with this intense look on your face, I don’t know how to explain it but it was almost hurt?
But I think our story changed a lot over the years, we, my alpaca, have been many things.
From strangers, to bean buddies, to running friends, to scallywags, our journey really has been colourful.  I’ll never forget the first time we really hung out. So, there these this girl was, at Origin, living her best life taking pills and jamming. Whilst on the dance floor, she gets a call from her brother – that she had been begging to come out, that he is at the club, but the line was way too long. Em being the amazing sister that she was – at the time at least – decided to hustle the bouncers to get him to the front of the queue. BUT HAAAAHHH! Plot twist. There was not just one brother at the end of the excruciating long line, there was a brother and his friend – the balsy overconfident guy from a couple of years prior. I remember running down the stairs, arguing with the big bouncer – Bruce – him and I were actually pretty close at one stage and explaining to him, with the biggest eyes I could, that it wasn’t only my brother, but that Matt was his brother too. And to my amazement, Bruce said: Alright, Mom wouldn’t want him waiting, bring him to the front.” SO. Off I bolted as fast as my legs could carry me to the end of the queue, amongst a flurry of “excuse me,” “Sorry,” I need to get my brother; only to be stopped in my tracks, and see you waiting.

You always looked like you were staring into me, quietly, like you knew something about myself that I didn’t or that you were waiting for something, with this pensive look on your face. It’s only when I look back at this do I recall how I felt seeing you there. I was really happy, and  I don’t think it was because we had another partying buddy – maybe it was but I never really worried if Matt’s friends tagged along or came out, unless I knew them, but you always, no matter where; caught me by surprise. Even if I knew you were going to be there, I still got that inner shock almost when seeing you.
SO back to the story. I realised Bruce had allowed one brother, and now he magically had two, I wasn’t sure how to get this past him, but there was no way in hell I was backing down, I had a reputation to uphold – a sense of allurement and was not allowing you two to be disillusioned.
Running back up to the front of the queue, I quickly and with the most enthusiasm I could muster, explain to Bruce that he in - fact has two brothers, and mum forgot to tell him about the other, but that the second was pretty cool and we didn’t leave people behind. I really have no idea how I managed to wangle that and am super impressed with the gusto I had in those days actually. He let out this chuckle and you guys were ushered to the front of the queue.
I don’t remember much of that night, but I do recall being really excited that you were taking beans too, it was like my own little experiment, I know that you had had them before, but I was still so in love with them, watching other people on them, and how they reacted was an all-time favourite. Your eyes lit up and you looked at everything as though you had never seen these crazy things before. And you became so nice!!!!!!!! This guy who had been oh so spicy, was letting me lead him around Origin and strut my stuff. I think it was when I turned around and saw you looking up at me when we were walking up the stairs to the top floor and I had your hand, turned around to see that you were OK, that I realised this was going to be something really fun – not love wise then and there – but that I could actually enjoy hanging out with you and that we made a pretty sick team. And as we got closer, I was absolutely lost in you, I loved you with everything I had, absolutely besotted. We had the most amazing adventures. We grew from that, to civilised friends who went running together and so our friendship morphed. But still, you toyed with me and my emotions, and that really messed things up – I should have seen you for what you were doing and left you to be fair, but I was so in love with the idea of us that nothing would sway me.
It took 7 years, us being many things,  me nearly getting married and almost leaving you for him and then back to him for you to realise you wanted me. And I am so damn sorry I didn’t realise sooner that I am no longer that girl you loved before and who loved you so much. Perhaps if something had happened between us back then, things would be different. But you were a coward and I was high too much of the time for us to go anywhere. You should have let me go Chris. You shouldn’t have pursued me. The ironic thing – we were meant to maybe be that cute story you see in all the movies, but too much had come to pass. You see – you didn’t know all I went through when you weren’t around. And maybe it is my fault because when I did open up about it, I was extremely cavalier and I probably should have let you take it more seriously, I should have taken it more seriously.
So, let me explain to you who this new Emma is and why she is incapable of loving you, and why she was capable of crushing you the way that she did.
In the years we were apart, I was a drug addict – I did many a thing that I was not proud of – you know most of them. I got over that, but it aged me, it shed me of that innocent young girl that was so enamoured with you. I learnt how to give myself away without emotion.
This girl, who had long since forgotten about you, or perhaps only held on to you slightly so that she wouldn’t lose that girl completely, was sent away, for a year in order to get better – did it work?
I do not know. I still have days of craving and wonder if I could have it under control – I don’t think that ever leaves you. But she then met a boy – this broken drug addict, met a man who promised her the world – He painted her this picture of safety, stability, solace – so many things she had missed and did not know how to get back.
And he rescued her from this tower – took her to safety and helped her to grow. He nurtured me back to health and really gave me the world.
Only. I didn’t know that this man was also broken, and it wasn’t long until he led me down the very path- to the very place I had spent such a long time trying to free myself from.
And there I was, back at it again, only this time, I had someone with me – someone I loved and trusted – and hey, if he was with me whilst I had my lines, what could go wrong?
And it was too late to leave him, he had awoken a love in me like no other. If you thought my love for you was strong; This love was indestructible.  I loved him with the purest love one could imagine, and there was nothing I would not do for that man. And it was only after you saw that love, did you realise what could have been yours and did you come rushing back.
Even you weren’t enough to tear him away from me, and as I fell deeper for this man, our every now and again activities soon became bimonthly activities which led to weekend activities, and so you can imagine.
Only, she tried to leave it, her broken being tried with all her might to heal him and save him from this wreckage. And I’m not sure if you know, but this girl once suffered with broken bird syndrome, she had a horse with one eye, a budgie without a beak and a cat with only three claws, always saving the broken.
Problem was, this man, this man she loved with everything, this man she literally drove to the ends of the earth in the middle of the night to save his life for, this very man, as much as she tried, could not be saved. And that killed her. She was powerless against his addiction and guilty that she had fuelled it.
And as his addiction drove a wedge in between them, she persevered even more to save him, so much as trying to fall pregnant, thinking that would get their lives together, so much as trying to propose to him, thinking that would fix things.
Alas, nothing worked, the fights got worse, the violence was an abhorrence, until, she looked in the mirror and no longer recognised the woman she had become. She was wise beyond her 25 years on this planet, had seen more than she should have and bent and broken her back for a man she wasn’t to be with. It wearied her. And so, she packed bags hopped in her little car and with burdened heart, left him. She knew if she were to stay, one of them would end up either dead, or in prison.
You see, her sassiness had turned to full blown wreckage, and her love for him, drove her to insane situations, places she should never have been, doing things, she should never at her young age have had to do.
And fast forward 3 years, and you have this girl typing this letter to you. She has honestly been through hell and back, thinking she could go back to that sweet young naïve girl, but the truth is she can’t and that is how I was able to crush you. You see, after all this, she went to the last place she felt normal – you. And my goodness was it refreshing to be able to laugh and joke, as though no one was looking over your shoulder. It was truly a blessing to feel so light once again. However, slowly and surely, I realised, I was not that girl anymore and never will be again. I outgrew our relationship that never even happened – I had been through it all – the cute newness, the living together, and the parties – to the fetching drunk, high men from bars at 2  am, to rushing to hospitals at midnight, alone, in fear that he would die of an overdose. I never got to heal from this, and instead covered up that I ruined all my firsts with someone who ruined me in return. So, you see, I never saw our new relationship as anything, because I am no longer that person you fell in love with. It was easy to pretend I was her when with you, but I soon realised I am not.
You also kept reminding me of that addict who you had last seen – checking up on me in pubs and getting concerned with my friends. And you see, this new love, he does none of those things. With him, I am able to be this new woman, who has come out of a rocky relationship without the burden of who I was before – I don’t have to wear her on my sleeve. I know that, things could have been great, but Chris, fact that I was able to hurt you so easily, without out so much as a tear shed, just shows we were not to be. And I am sorry that my travels away made me hard, I truly am, but I feel as though with this new love, I am vulnerable, and it terrifies me, but it has been a long time since I have been afraid of losing something, and it is that fear, that reminds me, I am capable of feeling, and that I am still human.  I know this is not the way you wanted our story to end, but you deserve better than me, you deserve a girl who will never break your heart, a girl who will never make you question your worth, and a woman who loves you as much as you loved me.  So, with that, Alpaca, I bid you farewell.

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