by Jordan Dunsmore
How strange a fate that love could turn to this?
That everything could change between us, a cruel joke that no doctor could explain.
Apart our love would remain strong,
but being in one another’s presence, it would degrade like wax in a burning candle. Something must have cursed us. Perhaps, out of jealousy?
We met all those years ago.
Everything changed that moment we first talked. As we awkwardly exchanged shy gestures, I forgot about all those who came before you—pain and joy washed away in their irrelevance.
I knew I loved you.
I knew that I could see myself with you for years to come.
After nearly half our lives.
After we made our first home together. After we vowed that we would never leave each other, it took hold of us. We couldn’t explain it, we loved one another—We did.
But when together, we would grow cold.
We would embrace for that brief moment before our curse could trigger. Apathy would quickly turn to hate until we retreated, separating ourselves by walls and time.
I would soon love you and it’d start all over.
We became a scientific marvel, studies were conducted.
Our brains had changed but they couldn’t explain why. Nobody understood what it was like. Longing for you, comforted by thoughts of our years together—only to have it stolen away in seconds.
We settled on a curse, there was no other explanation.
Some higher power hated what we had, hated what we built. My nights were spent wondering if we could just stick it out. Be together and make ourselves believe what others saw and thought.
I began to look elsewhere.
Weighing others against you in my loneliness. I couldn’t have you or anyone else. Our bodies couldn’t touch; it would hasten the process.
A caress of your face,
would turn into my hands on your throat.
In our desperation,
we decided to take the curse to war. We knew how we felt when we were apart. We knew that we could make it work.
We would conquer it.
Barring the doors, we decided to weather the storm—
together forever or not at all. Since it all started, we had never remained looking at each other for this long. Our words dried up like we were the worst of enemies.
Still we remained,
even as we grew sick, even as our minds ached, even as you threatened me.
Our love had been small in scope of things.
Not worthy of any miracle. Others could feel similar but not the same as us. Somehow we lasted so long despite that you were there and I was too.
The shock of you smashing my head against the wall
I hated you.
I wanted to do the same. So I did. I attacked back, my love and worst enemy. Our experiment had failed. We had gone from lovers to competing predators. Beyond apathy was utter hatred.
I felt like a fool.
Still for a moment,
I knew you loved me.
I didn’t feel the same, but I understood. Your hands relaxed around my throat, you gave in and allowed my makeshift weapon to pass between your ribs.
Over and over again
I drove it home while our eyes remained locked. You loved me and I twisted my bloodied grip in feral rage as your bones snapped. You were always stronger; you overcame the curse.
You let me perform the deed. A final gesture of love.
Even now, as I stare at you. My hands soaked. You drift away from me towards death. The farther you go, the more I grow to love you once more.
By the time I realize how I feel.
By the time it all comes back to me at once—you are already gone.
The greatest distance you have ever been from me.
I sob, curling up.
We decided together to try but only one of us failed
I was weak in that moment and now I’m who I was before.
When we built our home together, when our bodies touched for the first time and whenever I uttered your name. The same, but alone. I relive it all at once because you’re dead and I cannot follow.
I considered it, my love.
But I am too weak to end it here. Because I love you once more and if I follow you to our grave,
will we be too close again?