You say this is how it's supposed to feel, that this isn't emotional manipulation, it's just how real love feels.
As the words melt off of your tongue, they feel like wax dripping from a candle that has been burning for far too long.
I can see the other faces you've said them to, and I can hear how every single one of them has fallen for it.
Their eyes look like warning signs, yet somehow my mind can't seem to remember the difference between "caution: do not enter" and "please come in."
I wander through the hallways with hearts mounted above doorways, as if they're sets of horns you proudly brought home from a camping trip.
Despite all of the signs that this story has no happy ending I just remind myself that this is how love is supposed to feel.
You tell me stories of how every heart on the wall & face in my mind is yours because no one has ever loved you enough to stay.
You tell me that if I leave, you won't have the strength not to kill yourself.
In the next breath, you tell me I don't know how to make you happy anymore.
My heart has become so full of your pain, and I forget to make space for my own.
But this isn't manipulation, this is what love is supposed to feel like.
One time I told you that I liked to be called funny and ridiculous nicknames sometimes, and this quickly becomes your excuse for calling me awful names every time I do something that upsets you.
Yet as you're spewing words at me that burn my skin worse than the cigarettes my aunt placed there after having too much to drink, I still forget to feel anything but your pain.
I'm starting to think you've talked so much that you're causing the tides to change.
The wind is blowing words across the streets without remembering to look both ways first.
You had always told me you'd love me, as long as I did what you asked.
Respected you. Kept you so happy and your heart so full that I forget how to pick out an outfit without showing it to you first.
You said you'd always love me, until one day you didn't.
Now my heart is so empty, hungry for anything except love.
No matter how hard I try, I can't forget that none of it was emotional manipulation.
It was passion, it was real, and as you so often reminded me, it was what love is supposed to feel like.
I can't help but cherish the way my empty soul growls for some substance, because if that was love, then I hope I'm never so unfortunate as to feel it again.