There Is Only The Middle

Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Falling down, drink in hand, drugs flowing through your system like it was your blood. Room spinning, music thumping, bodies moving. Everything a never ending flow more, next, louder, higher. There is no beginning, there is no end; just the middle. Every life is just the middle of someone else’s story.

The scent of sex permeates every corner of the building, the stairwells littered with teenagers too young to be there, older couples and singles trying so hard to prove they are still young enough. People with successful lives outside of all this. People with nowhere else to go, who leave all their hopes and dreams in this place, for these moments; throwing every chance they have for a future away, just so they can feel like they belong somewhere now.

Bathrooms are filled with cops getting favors from barely legal’s, and questionable’s, in exchange for promises of no arrests or phone calls home. Morals and laws having no meaning once you walk through the doors; instincts, wants, and desires taking over in the heady cloud of smoke. It welcomes you like a loving embrace, making you forget everything wrong that you’ll be doing tonight. Whatever happens here, it isn’t real once morning comes; the rule of every place that only comes alive in the dead of night. The building a vampire in it’s own right, sucking the life out of any and all who are lured into it’s hypnotizing lies.

Hatred and prejudices die on the thresholds, opening doors to any and all possibilities. All fantasies come alive, every secret and shameful need taken care of by nameless faces of people no one will ever remember or miss. Becoming one of the many nameless persons for every forgettable face you meet. Nothing is off limits, nothing is illegal. Everything goes until morning, when they all float away like nameless ghosts into the daylight, back to the lives they so desperately try and succeed to escape from when the sun sets.

“We only except the love we think we deserve.”

Hands grab your hips, dragging you into a secluded corner. A face you know, arms you’ve been in so many times in your real life. Hands closing around your throat like they have so many times before, a raspy voice whispering out the same lines of love you’ve heard over and over before. There is no escape, even in a world where nothing and no one truly exist. He loves you, just like he always had. Just like he’s loved the ones that came before you, the ones that he has behind your back, and the ones he’ll no doubt have after you.

You’re no fool as you give into his sweet nothings, not really believing anything he says, but going along with it for the sake of keeping the peace. You know that there are no rules here, even with police roaming the building looking to be a part of something more, just like everyone else. You know if he were to take things too far, start hurting you to the point of serious damage, someone would stop him. There are no rules here, but no one is allowed to die either. That would end up bringing too much attention, too many questions; it would surly end the world they have so painstakingly built up to recreate the fantasy they all need to survive. You just don’t want it to come down to someone having to step in.

The hands around your throat flex; loosening and tightening their hold rhythmically to the generic synthesized beat pouring out from the speakers, spilling out sounds so colorful, you could almost touch them. It’s the same beat that is pumping through your chest, filling the empty cavity by beating as if it was your own unresponsive heart. The organ not even beating for this man out fear anymore. Lies like liquid sugar still pouring from his like lips, sticky sweet, thick and viscous as they pour over you, making the hollow of your chest ache, knowing that your heart shrivels even more every time he opens his mouth.

You think that if this is what love truly is, then you’d have been better off being alone. No. You’d have been better off dead. Being alone is worse than being wrapped in his love. At least you know he cares about where you are; he wants to be near you as much as he can. Even if love is suffocating you, crushing down on your lungs, making it hard to breathe, hard to feel, hard to be.

“There is love in lies, beauty in deceit, freedom in destruction; everything good comes from the bad.”

The hands leave your throat only to reappear and tighten in your hair. You suck in a breath as he kisses you. Breath like fire, burning your lungs, breathing life back into you while slowly choking all the oxygen out of your body; killing you and making you feel more alive than you have since the last time. These games of hide and seek, fighting reality and hiding from each other, while not being able to fight the urge to claim, take, mark. The primal desire to make sure no one else takes what’s yours, even if he never was yours and you never wanted to be his. The kiss is death, extinguishing every desire to flee, to save yourself from his poison.

You think it might be too late for you. It’s been so long, that you’ve been saturated down to your marrow with his love (lies!). He was your drug and you’ve been strung out for so long that you can’t remember what it was like to be clean of him. You’re afraid of what it would be like to breathe freely, to not be tainted by his pretty words. That type of freedom scares you; it scares you to not know that there will be someone always there, to never be truly alone.

It’s a sick-cycle-carousel. This game, this love. It’s a give and take of who can be the bigger danger, who can be the better liar. You’ll be damned if you don’t give as good as you get. He’s your drug, your poison, but you’re currently his everything, his obsession, and you’ll do your damnedest to crush him under the weight of his love for you.

One of your hands finds purchase on his neck, your sharply filed nails digging into the juncture of his neck hard enough to draw blood. The other finds its way under his shirt, scratching down his back, leaving trails of red in their wake. He hisses, biting down on your lip in retaliation. The hands in your hair tighten further, a warning you’re too far gone to take. Your nails dig into the small of his back; your own warning that you will not back down.

My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

It was a losing battle from the moment you met him. You were both damned from that very first glance; damned if you went with each other and doubly so if you didn’t. There was no escape from the force of the pure need binding you two together. It took all you had to keep it from getting any further. It would take so much more to finally end it, to move on.

This was love. This was the love you were raised to believe. To have this all powerful, all consuming control over another human being; that was what love was all about, right? The need to make the one you want so dependant on your love that they could never hope to be without it, that they couldn’t bring themselves to live without it. Possession was love. Control was love. Lies were love. And you’ll be damned if love didn’t hurt.

The music gets louder, the people get rowdier. The night has reached it’s peak, just a few short hours before dawn. Everyone trying to get in as much as they could before they became real again, before they had to function in a world where names and faces meant something. The stumbling group of glitter and skirts flitter by you, stumbling into him, making him release the grip he had on your hair. You dig your nails into his back one last time, knowing that rivulets of blood will follow the trail that they left, before you slide passed him, blending back in with the smoke and bodies of people that weren’t real.

Love was a brilliant, enticing thing. So deadly and life-giving. It absorbs you in it’s destructive pull, turning you into something so ugly, you become dazzling; something so alluringly tragic. It drains you of all you have until you’re left wondering whether or not you were better off dead. You’d rather be dead than to go back to being without it. Once you’ve had this love, there was no escape. You’d trade one him for the next if you finished the game. Being alone would be a fate worse than death, to know what you could have and to not be able to get it again. No, there is only one way to escape his love, but it’s just too much fun the end it now.

The first few lights of dawn start to break through the haze that creates this fantasy world. One by one the nameless faces become ghosts once more, floating threw the doors, back out into the real world. Back out into their real lives, with families that love them, jobs that need them, and back to being who they pretend to be. Walking into the sunlight without ever looking back, getting into cars and driving back home. It’s like waking up from a really deep sleep, feeling drained and refreshed all at the same time. The world seems a little brighter than it did the day before, and maybe you can go back to before his love. It’s a new day with new beginnings, and endless possibilities. The only thing set in stone is that you will be back again tonight, back into the fantasy life where there’s no knowing looks and people judging you for no reason other than the fact that they can. Sometimes it’s better to live a lie than realize it’s all you have.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

Contributor~ Amanda Zober

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