My name is [redacted] and i am an addict. Addicted to losing myself in lost people. Maybe i’m a masochist, or unlucky, or…I don’t know, but i can’t seem to stop myself from falling into bad habits disguised as love. They said acceptance is the first step, but how am i supposed to accept the embrace of loneliness every night? His hands know every inch of my frame, he has searched the darkest corners of my mind and permeated my very being. He is the only lover I have not lost yet he’s the one i long to escape from. My memory is filled with reluctant heroes and their half-hearted attempts to liberate me, but maybe you can’t liberate what doesn’t want to be free.

She was open flame, and i was burned flesh, raw and exposed under her gaze. She laid me bare and what i thought to be the heights of pleasure became the foundation for my ecstasy. Her figure had carved a permanent image in my brain. I could draw the swell of her hips, the luscious fullness of her breasts, the slight dusting of freckles on her face and more all from memory. She was radiant, filled with a pulsating energy that drew me to her like a moth to a flame. She oozed sexuality, needing no more than a few words to turn the space between my thighs into her personal fountain. Yet she was open flame, volatile and untamed, quick to whisper promises into the hollow of my collarbone and break them without a second thought. She was open flame, a source of warmth yet a source of pain when kept too close for too long. She was open flame, and since she left, I have not seen light or found salve for my wounds. I wonder if she still burns.

I knew I was fucked when I started dreaming about her. The dreams would vary. Sometimes we’d be walking through a park with sunlight beaming on our faces, ice cream cones in hand, laughter in the air. Sometimes we’d be fucking. Passionately. Aggressively. I’d wake up from those particular dreams with an erection that hurt almost as much as being alone. Sometimes I would simply be running. Running until my lungs burned and my legs ached yet she was always slightly out of my reach. Unattainable. I was the best man and as I watched her walk down the aisle, with a throat raw from swallowing my words everyday I came to that realisation that I’ve never woken up from that dream. Unattainable, my desire.

I don’t know why we’ve never been able to get our timing right. He claims to love me, and I claim to love him yet we beat worn paths around the same bush with crossed fingers hidden between our shoulder blades. We’ve hurt each other, frequently, repeatedly, a cycle of dysfunction and I tell myself that every time will be the last then I remind myself that I said that last time. I have asked God and Google how to let go but my searches have yielded zero results. On the good nights, without the yelling and the swearing, when he’s in my arms, the fractures in my heart don’t hurt as much. The searing pain is dulled and it is easier to lie to myself that I am not clinging to a bomb primed to explode at any given moment. I’ve looked for remedies and recipes to rid myself of the need that I have developed for his touch, for his presence. This love, or whatever it really is, is tearing me apart and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to hold on. We are in a valley. I don’t know where he is, we have not spoken, and the fractures are a little deeper and a little wider. Be still my beating heart. Be still, so I no longer need to feel this pain.

in case you want to read: ‘the broken heart brigade’ & ‘the broken heart brigade II

Find SET on twitter @TinubuTweets or check out his Medium here