“Wake up,” she says.
But he isn’t asleep. He’s passed out. Unconscious. In that black hole he likes to bury himself in every night. In that place of oblivion where no one and nothing can reach him.
“Wake up,” she says again, shaking him as violently as she can without hurting him.
He comes to. He opens his eyes. They’re bloodshot. Glazed over. The Devil‘s got him again.
“Every time you go down the rabbit hole,” she says. “You take me down with you. You take us all down with you. Must you destroy everything you create?”
She wonders if he hears what she’s saying. She wonders if he comprehends. It’s not wise to talk to someone when they’re under the influence of their chosen poison. But try talking to them when they’re off it and all you’ll get are: excuses, lies and diversionary tactics. They’ll even blame it on you if they can. Say that you’re the one with the problem.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he says.
“Like what?” she answers.
“Don’t look at me like you’re disgusted with me. I don’t deserve that.”
HUH? What did he just say? If anything, she felt a deep and profound sense of pain in seeing someone she cared for damage himself in this way day in and day out. For so long she told herself the lie that one day things will be different. That one day he will change. And he told himself the lie that he doesn’t have a problem. For so long she believed him.
But his pain – and his need to escape it – hurts everyone and everything around him. When he’s in that deep dark place – it’s like he isn’t here at all. And whatever is left is but a mean hollow shell of what was before.
And with each day that passes, his pain becomes my pain. I hurt each time he hurts himself. I ache each time he’s unconscious and in the middle of nowhere. I worry each night whether he’s going to come home or if something will happen to him. How can one person spread so much misery?
“I’m fine,” he says trying to pretend that he is.
He gets up. His balance is unsteady. He opens his eyes very wide. Yes, that will do the trick. No one will know.
“You have a problem,” she says. “You need help. And if you refuse to get it, I’ll have to…”
“I don’t have a problem,” he says. “Besides, if you don’t like it you can leave.”
She raises an eyebrow. She wonders if it’s him or his poison talking. But for once she doesn’t care. She decides that it’s time. She’s had enough.
“Don’t leave me,” he pleads suddenly. “You’re my only hope. The only one who can save me from my darkness.”
“No one can save you from your darkness.”
“I love you.”
She shakes her head. Is this what love feels like? Constant pain? Constant heartache? Constant worry? He has hurt me enough. He has hurt me enough.