“Please read your journal!” — she pleads, shoving it into my hands, begging me to see her with clear eyes. But my eyes and my mind are anything but clear, although I am convinced otherwise.

“I remember what I wrote, ok?” — I say as I think of all the promises I made in that journal. Promises reassuring her that I could keep my anxiety away from our relationship. I continue to sit still, but my insides are burning. It isn’t anger, but rather something more viscous and more elusive.

“I think you need help.”

“Are you serious?!” — I glare at her.

“Yes! I mean it!” You have that face again — the distant, evil face. I’m scared.”

I cannot believe that she is seriously suggesting psychological help. I mean, I am fine, dammit! If only she wasn’t so demanding for answers that I don’t have. I look at her. Her cheeks are shiny and red from tears, her eyes — glossy. She is so pretty, so cute, but there is nothing I can do to stop this mess. We’ve gone too far and who knows if this will ever subside. From within me, from a level of conscious awareness, emerges the desire to wrap my arms around her, kiss her tears away, tell her over and over that she is the most wonderful person in the world, until all the pain that I caused is replaced with warmth and peace. But I can’t move. I am locked inside a destructive subconscious pattern that was put in place by god knows who or what to sabotage everything good we had between us.

“I can’t be here right now. I need to go for a walk. I need to think things through” — I say, getting up and heading for the door. She bolts off the bed and in a fraction of a second she is already clasping my wrists, crying, begging me to stay.

“Please don’t go! Please! Let’s talk, please!..”

“I have to go” — I say as I look past her into nothingness. The pattern has a strong hold over me and I am powerless. I break away from her as gently as I can, but there is nothing gentle about the situation. It’s all brutal and violent in contrast to the peaceful New York basement apartment setting. As I walk up the stairs I don’t look back, leaving behind my purity and my love and my happiness who is standing there in the doorway in her slippers and pajama shorts, shocked, devastated, and crying.

The night streets glide over me as I walk senseless in some uncertain direction. All I can hear is a loud buzzing in my ears — a kind of sound that rings endlessly after the most powerful explosion is followed by utter silence. It fades in and out of my head as I zone out between intersections. I walk and I walk and I walk, the world around me nothing but a synthetic projection of whatever the fuck life is. How did things get so bad between us? How can I ever go back into that apartment and into that girl’s life after leaving like that? I couldn’t. Several months later I will find out that on that night I left her heart forever, never to return. That night, somewhere in the busy streets of Manhattan, between trash bags and swarming yellow cabs, I lost her love.

When I open the door to the apartment, she is back on the bed, cheeks still red but her eyes — tearless. They study me and my every move for any signs of answers. Those answers make sense to me, but I could never explain them to her. Especially after what had happened. Better to not say anything at all, but that’s not going to work. I can’t be silent forever. Her gaze is demanding explanations, and once again I feel numb and speechless.

“So?” — she asks, firmly.

I look up at her and try to say something but the words aren’t coming out. Because they aren’t the right words. Nothing I can conjure up in my head feels right. The truth is — I am torn. I love this girl and I need to tell her that, but my personal problems and insecurities are right in the way and I cannot break through them. She shakes her head like “Come on, just say something already”. I want to yell “I don’t know, baby! I don’t fucking know!” I want to yell at myself, at my own confusion and paralysis. That’s when I get that gnawing feeling of hopelessness that kids get when they can’t do something even after they’ve tried many times. My chest grows heavy with heat that radiates into my throat, and I hear myself say “umm…”. What a great start. In my head a million thoughts — a synaptic explosion, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot for the life of me comprehend why it is so damn difficult to explain how I feel. As I look at her I begin to see in her eyes that she is growing distant and beginning to give up on me. On us.

I don’t remember what I said, but whatever it was — it “fixed things”. The next day we went to Central Park and walked around, although mostly in silence. It was so strange to be free of the destructive pattern. I felt so right and so in love with her. But in the back of my mind I knew that there was no fixing things. Those wounds — they were forever and they were eating at us, like incoming waves eat at a sand castle.

It was a disaster waiting to happen. When things were good they were really good. But when they were bad they were really bad. Really really bad. Our fights didn’t just weaken the walls of our castle, necessitating a little maintenance — no, they destroyed the whole thing, leaving behind a wet, shapeless pile of unrecognizable mess. And although we tried to rebuild the walls every time, the waves kept on coming. So when she decided that she didn’t want to play in the sand with me anymore and went to look for better fish in the sea, there was no way I could keep the castle standing on my own. And it would be useless anyway because she didn’t want a sand castle. She wanted a stone fortress, strong and indestructible, but my what if’s would turn any stone she offered into microscopic dust.