The haunts of dating
You’re haunting me, consciously and unconsciously. You float through my inbox with a “how’s life” every so often; like a seasoned horror-film survivor, I know better than to engage. But you also run laps around my head, take up space I never decided to give you.
A weekend passes in which I know we would have had plans, in that alternate universe where we are compatible. We would have done a hot mountain getaway for our close birthdays. Instead I drive in and out of service all day, both surprised and relieved you chose to hide on my particular day each time I get the chance to look. The weekend is nice but the decay of a fall forest reminds me that I have “what could have been” spectors flying out of my mouth. I describe to my travel companion all of the could of should ofs. The aspens quake with the freshly deposited unrealities of a mourned relationship.
You haunt my social media, at least what I let you see. You aren’t there 100% but it feels almost as if the times you don’t view a story are more intentional than the times you do, trying to exert your will over your curiosity but ultimately failing. Carnivorous and hungry, you’ll absorb any glance of my life you can.
Sometimes my own actions are in defiance of you. I turn down alcohol or other vices, knowing you could never and being driven by some pointless point of pride. I achieve the things I had shelved for you, somewhat as reassurance that I have individual goals and aspirations, but also to silently and in no way significantly let you, my ghost, know that I can “do this” even with you dead. The “we” being dead.
I had chosen to love you. I believe that love is a choice and I thought that’s what we were doing. But you’re just a film gimmick, not a rom-com archetype but rather that sweet, sickening red door that the audience knows to be perilous to open. And yet, we desire to know…
Red. The color of blood. The color of hunger. The ultimate attraction. The indication of heat. The signal of danger. The daughter of attention. The decorator of flags ignored.
I play what-ifs like it’s my job. I challenge your words against reality, begrudgingly choosing truth over potential.