What is love?
How does it feel?
How does it work?
How do you know if it’s real?
People rarely stop and try to explain it. They just experience it. This intuitive and exciting feeling in our gut is so abstract that sometimes it ends up being deceptive.
Why do we always feel the urge and inexorable obligation to save someone we love when we know with all certainty that it’s a lost cause?
The night started out being the best I’ve had in a long time. Ryan and I showed up at the Riverfront Hotel where ironically, over half a decade ago when I was an escort, I accidentally ran into Hilda after one of my clients, Bastien had a heart attack during our sexual encounter. The lobby was filled with successful, wealthy people, and although it momentarily made both me and Ryan feel out of place, we were both dressed in well tailored tuxedos that allowed us to fit into the crowd pretty easily. Hilda was zestfully wearing a sparkly light pink dress, and when I saw her, she smiled and rushed to hug me. I don’t know how she got so lucky still looking so young, almost exactly like she used to ten years ago if it weren’t for her new hair color; a lighter shade of brown. I introduced her to Ryan and she offered us champagne. For most of the night, she was busy assisting guests and being around her husband while Ryan and I socialized, and I was just happy to have my life turned around, only this time, it was for the best. I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I reflected upon my life as I walked around, consciously absorbing the positive and exciting energy of my surroundings, constantly reminding myself that it was real. I was finally reunited with an old best friend, and she has given me the opportunity of a lifetime. I was about to do something with my life. Something I can be proud of. Something I can be passionate about.
My future looked more promising than ever before, until I saw him come in like a bolt from the blue, instantly putting me in front of an unforeseen crisis. I wasn’t sure if it was his ghost or if it was really him. I had to get a bit closer to realize it was him; Matthew. He was there when he had absolutely no reason to. Actually, he did; me. The room seemed to darken with every step he took in my direction. I turned around pretending I haven’t seen him and walked in the opposite direction. Suddenly, the three most poignant people in my life were all in one room, and I was the only connection between them. And with Matt around, it was impossible for me to keep it together. So I decided to flee, but even that seemed impossible. I walked between the crowd, and he followed me. When I was out of sight, I started running to the elevator, but he was closer to me than I expected. When the elevator doors finally opened and I stepped in, he blocked the doors as they closed, stepped in without even making eye contact and stood right next to me. He clicked on the button for floor 62, and as the elevator went up, my heart skipped a beat as we got closer to the top of the building, almost making me crack under the pressure. A mad man was intruding upon my life, again, and there was no way for me to make him understand that I’ve terminated our relationship months ago. Matt knew what he was doing by showing up here, so I had no other choice but to follow his every move. Trying to act smart would’ve jeopardized everything.
When we got to the sixty-second floor and the doors opened again, he waited for me to get out first. Then, he followed. We walked together to his room. Inside, I started pacing while still avoiding any eye contact. There was an anxious silence before he motioned towards me, our eyes finally meeting, and our past together started to reemerge. Knowing Matt has tainted my life. Our history isn’t something I can put away and bury. He started talking and at first, I listened. The scary part was that he was still stuck in the past, thinking he still had a chance with me when I made it pretty clear we were over. He talked about how we were meant to be together again, but at this point in my life I knew better than to listen to his delusional and unrealistic life expectations. However, I was too scared to push him away by saying the wrong things, so I kept my mouth shut. Telling him we were over was only going to make things worse. And I wasn’t going to let him ruin my night. Half an hour passed and I had to come back downstairs before my absence caused any suspicion, but he wouldn’t let me. He kept going on and on about how I should give him another chance, promising me that he would treat me better, relying on nothing but a distortion of the truth of the situation when it was clear that I made up my mind about us a long time ago.
– “Felix. My life has turned to shitI!”
– “Maybe you should’ve thought about that before killing all those people not to mention the secrets you’ve kept from me.”
– “Don’t give me that bullshit. Just because you haven’t killed anyone, it doesn’t mean you’re less of a criminal than I am. You’ve hurt people. You’ve destroyed people’s lives.”
– “Don’t turn this on me. This isn’t about me.”
– “Of course it’s about you. It’s always been about you.”
Knowing everything about his background as well as all the gruesome crimes he’s committed, my decision was firm. But he kept trying so hard to look for signs to prove to himself that I still loved him when there were absolutely none. He’s become totally consumed by this terrifying obsession with me, and I kept trying to make him see the bigger picture; that I can’t be with him anymore. But he kept ignoring every word I said. That’s when I got fed up with him and started walking away. For a second I thought he was going to grab me or hurt me in some way (a flash of him grabbing me by the neck, pushing me against the wall and lifting me up as he choked me), but he didn’t. All he did was give me the death stare, and I have to admit it scared the shit out of me. Once I got close to the door, his voice suddenly paralyzed me.
– “Please, don’t leave me like this. You’ll hurt me if you do”, he said with a soft broken down voice.
– “Why does it matter to you so much whether I stay or leave?”, I asked expecting a rather honest answer.
– “Because I care about you.”
I don’t know why I asked him that question since I had already made up my mind; I wasn’t going to stay no matter what he said. His gradual undoing was something I’ve been hoping for, though. Because for once, I wanted to be in control. And being in control meant I had to abandon him.
As I made my way back to the elevator, I started thinking about this mysterious and powerful feeling that thrills and electrifies us. Love. We expect love to be blind and unconditional but that’s rarely the case. People tend to experience it rather than try to define it because it’s a complicated concept. Who cares why and how it exists as long as you can get this rare feeling of joy and fulfillment, right? Love isn’t always rainbows and stars. Sometimes it’s messy, and violent, Imperfect. Still, it feels good, at least to some of us. And we don’t know it’s there until it takes us over, and no matter how hard we try to fight against it, it will always find its way back to us. To paralyze and consume us. And deep inside, as much as we want to escape from it, we let ourselves be completely taken by it.
I guess I’m finally starting to understand. I’m attracted to a different kind of love. Part of me knew that all along, but somehow still managed to suppress it because my mind couldn’t make sense of it. I thought I fully accepted this strange kind of love because of my lack of self-esteem. I thought of my past relationship with Matt as a punishment; an ultimate destiny that I deserved for being a terrible human being.
As I waited for the elevator to come back up, things started to get a little bit clearer. Me and Matt are meant to be together after all. But can I really handle leading a life with him now that I know who he really is? I can’t expect him to change because simply put, there is no saving a serial killer from the damnation of his dark side.