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The Strange

Updated on March 7, 2017

The First Meeting

“What’s going on with you today?”
“What do you mean what’s going on with me today? Isn’t it kind of obvious?”
“Isn’t it kind of obvious that nothing is obvious to me? Seriously Cassidy you’ve been acting like a complete asshole to me for weeks. What the fuck is up with you?” He looks at me with that same annoyed face.
“I don’t like what it's doing to you. I know that you wouldn’t act like this if you weren’t under the influence. Can you really not see it? It’s turning you into a complete loser. You have no ambition to do anything on your own. You almost never pick up after yourself. You hate going to work every day and you view everything negatively. You won’t even go anywhere with me unless I beg you to. Isn’t that enough to tell you? It’s completely turning you against the world, and in the process it’s been turning you against me.” I look him in the eyes with everything that I was. Why can’t he see it? Why can’t he just open his eyes and know that I’m telling him the truth. Why can’t he see that he’s hurting me? My vision blurs and my eyes prick at the tears that threaten.
“How many times do I have to tell you that smoking doesn’t do that to me? It just enhances my surroundings and makes them better.”
“You mean it makes it easier for you to deal with me?” My throat starts to close up and I can’t say anymore. All I can think about is how much I want to shake it into him. I want to shake him so that he can see what I’m seeing, feel what I’m feeling.
“Why do you always have to be so dramatic? Can’t you see that it bothers me? I have no idea what’s going on with you right now. You act like everything I do bothers you. I feel like you don’t even care. You’re always so rude and spiteful toward me and I don’t understand it. Does everything I do bother and annoy you? Do you hate me?”
My face is a mess of agony at this point. How else can I tell him? He has everything so backwards I don’t know if there is anything I can say to him to make him understand. All I can do is cry. I know that if I say any more to him now then my words will just confuse him even further. Tears are pouring down my face like boulders falling down a mountain side. My heart threatens to collapse beneath the weight from the pain I feel. Sometimes I wonder why this is the one I chose. Someone who is so careless about what he does that he never realizes how much he hurts the others around him. The longer we stay here the more he becomes like these people. The same people that I can’t tolerate with a single fiber of my being. He smokes every day and he gets lazier and lazier. He’s letting his years go faster than he knows. He loses track of time so much and so easily that I wonder how far he has already gone away from me. It’s not just because of my past. Really it has nothing to do with that and in fact it’s actually the opposite. This has everything to do with my future. He may not spend any time worrying about it, but I don’t want to be stuck like this. My life, living day after day not really doing anything, not really going anywhere.
He steps so close to me that our bodies are touching and inhales a deep breath very slowly. His hand is warm as it catches the tear that glides down my flushed cheek. The pain in his eyes almost startles me and I can’t look away from him.

“All I ever do is hurt you. You’ve told me over and over again, and every single time you tell me I ignore you and do it anyways just to spite you. I don’t give a shit about your feelings. I don’t give a shit about anything. So why do you keep bringing this up?”
My mouth falls open like he had just slapped me in the face. We have fought before but not like this. Does he really mean what he just said? I close my mouth and open it again, wanting to say something, anything to make this go away. I quickly close it again. I’m at a complete loss for words.
“I’m sorry what was that, I didn’t hear you?” He says in a sardonic tone. “You can’t think of anything to say can you? I’ll let you in on a little secret. The reason you can’t say anything right now is because I don’t love you. I never have loved you and I never will love you. This whole time that I’ve been with you was a complete lie. I was only using you to get what I wanted. And do you know what I want now?”
I stood there completely dumbfounded, unable to answer.

He pushes his fingers through my long mouse brown hair and stops to tuck it behind my ear. I want his fingers there, lingering just a bit longer on my skin. I want him to touch me the way he used to, with more love than I thought was possible for me to feel. His touch used to put me at ease. I know what’s about to happen but I can’t look away from his face. All the pain that I saw there before has now been replaced with something else, something dark. Suddenly I hear a loud smack and pain begins to slowly rise up out of the palm of my right hand. I look down at my hand and then back to Aaron’s face, both beaming the same shade of red. I can’t help hoping that the mark on his face hurts more than my hand. More than the pain that he has put me through. He looks back up at me and smiles.
“Do you feel better now?” He says with sadness in his big blue eyes.
“You turn it on me every time,” I say looking at him square on.
“So this is my fault then? It’s my fault that you take on this burden every time? You think too much and in return you confuse yourself into thinking that I’m a bad guy. You don’t know how to let things be.”
He was doing it again. Trying to make it look like this is all my fault. This was starting to hurt me more and more every time. Because every time we did this I knew nothing would change and he would just keep going back to doing the same thing all over again. Soon I would be left alone to put myself back together, pretending that this moment never happened. Left feeling lonely, unappreciated, and unwanted. But I won’t let that happen this time. I’m the only one who gets to be in control of my own life.
“I want you out,” I say to him simply.
“Excuse me?”
“I want you to pack up all of your things and move out. I invited you into my life like this because I loved you, and now all you ever want to do is hurt me. So you can leave.”
“Where is this coming from?” He said.
So he thinks he can play the fool? I scoff at him, disgusted. “If your shit isn’t out of this apartment by the end of the day tomorrow I am going to call the police and have them escort you out of here. Is that clear enough for you?”
His face was full of surprise. He nodded his head vigorously. He knew that if I called the cops on him they wouldn’t just escort him away; they would send him straight to jail.

“Good. I think it goes without saying that you can sleep on the couch. Goodnight and goodbye.” I slammed the door and immediately went into the bathroom to turn on the shower. I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. I just told the man that I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with that I wanted him out of my life. I was so confused by everything that had just happened that my crying soon turned into choked sobs that racked my whole body. Why? Why does this have to happen to me? Why did I have to pick the one that was never going to give a shit no matter what I did? I had to choose the one person that just couldn’t manage to love me enough to see that I was only trying to help him. I loved him.

I woke up in a clammy sweat with the same tears pouring out of my eyes as in my dream. I looked over to the other side of the bed half expecting that he would be lying next to me. It’s been 8 months now and I still wake up every night having the same reoccurring nightmare of that fight. The memory brings back all the pain just as fresh as if it were happening every single time. Wiping my eyes from my face I felt around in bed for my phone. The screen flashed on to reveal that it was 2:43 a.m. I turned the screen off again and rolled over in bed, pulling the blanket up close around my face. I inhaled and pretended the blanket wrapped around me was him. I squeezed it a little closer, his arms holding me tight. His breath on my neck again, lulling me to sleep with every exhale. His body warm against my own and our legs intertwined. I missed his hands on my body more than anything. But no amount of pillows would ever come close to making up for the real thing, and pretending just wasn’t enough.

I threw the blanket and pillows off of me in a fit and sat up in bed. The moon was showing through my windows and lighting up the floor. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I could see the curtains blowing in the wind that passed through them. The sky was clear and almost seemed as if it were inviting me. I got out of bed and walked over to the window. The air smelled sweet and fresh, bringing promises of a short fall for the winter that always seemed to last too long. The air coming through the screen caressed my face and gave my body a chill. I closed the window and sheathed myself in the shawl I had hanging off of my bed post. I hugged myself and made my way downstairs and into the kitchen. I filled a mug half way with water and reached up into the cupboard for the tea box. Even on the very tips of my toes I could never get it down without his help.

Just as I thought I was about to get it down I heard a thud in the living room. I turned and looked around the kitchen and saw the broom standing on the other side of the counter. Picking it up I made my way toward the sound. As I entered into the living room I was surprised to see the curtains whipping all over the place. I ran up on the window and closed it right away. I had my hand on the top frame and was just about to lock the window when I heard a crash in the kitchen. With my broom still in hand I came into the kitchen to find my cup broken into pieces on the floor. I flicked the light on and was shocked to see a dark figure hunched over on my counter top. Its head spun toward me and I was immediately paralyzed with fear. It’s eyes burned a fierce and wild blue as the dog’s lip turned up to reveal a set of sharp and deadly teeth. His fur, blacker than midnight, bristled and white foam dripped from his mouth as guttural sounds escaped it's throat. Fear took over ever part of me and I jumped when the dog snapped its jaws at me. My limbs were heavy and stiff and my head began ringing. The dog barked at me again and crouched even lower on the counter top. I could hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears and I knew I was about to die. I squeezed my eyes shut and counted to 3. My family will be devastated over my death, especially Brandy, who wasn't really a relation but was like the sister I always wanted. Everyone will be stricken with grief and none of them even know. I clutch my stomach at the thought of never getting to raise a child.

Suddenly the light bulb blows out and I scream in terror knowing the beast will rip me apart any moment. I can’t help the whimper that escapes my mouth as the wait is drawn out. I listen for the dog and notice that it has gotten eerily quiet. I try to steady my breathing so that I can hear better. After a few moments of listening and hearing nothing but silence I manage to open my eyes. I look up to see the kitchen doorway wide open with a tall figure staring back at me with the same blue eyes as the feral dog. Just as quickly as our eyes met his body shifts and dissolves into a wall of smoke that is carried off by the wind. My body collapses on the kitchen floor and the last thing I remember is being engulfed in blackness.

Missouri evening sky. (This picture was not edited)
Missouri evening sky. (This picture was not edited) | Source

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