The Survivor

“Our relationship hadn’t been as smooth as it was five years ago. But then again, what relationship remains as strong as it starts, right? It’s always smooth sailing in the beginning, until the ship starts sinking in an ocean of insecurities, its sails punctured by trust issues. Joel was heavily armed with trust issues. He saw the dead as walking metaphors for the restless demons that made up his depression, waiting to devour him whole.

“Things used to be so perfect in the beginning. It was wonderful. But then he started to become so obsessive. He made me cut off all my friends. It started with just guys. His jealousy always bled out of his mental cuts, drowning all his thoughts. So, I expected that to happen. But he took it even further. Eventually he also made me cut off the few girls I would talk to, thinking they would fill my head with thoughts that would push me to leave him and find someone else.

“My appearance also became an issue to him. He said his mother didn’t want him dating a ‘demon.’ Left with no other choice, I was forced to get rid of my piercings. I was so scared that one day he would cut off the skin from my arms to remove my tattoos, or force me to do it myself.”

“How would he force you?”

“He would always threaten to leave me and hurt himself if he didn’t get his way. I’ll never forget his words: ‘If you love me, and I’m not taking it back, you’ll do what I say.'”

“I’m so sorry… No one deserves to be put through that. No one at all.”

“I reached a point where I didn’t want to live through that. I just… didn’t want to live. I thought I was doing everything right. I was always loyal, always honest. But that wasn’t enough for him. It never was.

“Did he even love me at all? My presence was probably nothing more than a pillow to help him sleep comfortably at night. I even started to question if I truly loved him like I used to. Perhaps, at that point, we were both just in love with an idea.

“He drained my life of all color. With him everything was either black or white, wrong or right—all dictated by his definitions. It was like he had a map for where my life should go. I would just run around in circles when he wasn’t shouting directions, always ending up in the same place.”

“Did he ever lay a hand on you?”

“My mind was bruised thanks to the psychological pain he inflicted on me for months. That bruise blurred into a lump that signaled the cancerous relationship I had been diagnosed with.

“The night before the loved ones returned, I locked myself in the bathroom. I tried to drown myself in the tub. But, in a cruel way… Joel saved my life.

“He broke down the door, dragged me out of the tub, and let his fists talk sense into me.”

“Please tell me you left him right there and then.”

“Leaving someone isn’t easy. You become the villain of a story once illustrated with the colors of genuine love. But I’m not a villain. I only wanted to be a hero, to fly and catch people when they fall. Sometimes falling in love can be as fatal as falling out of a window from a tall building.

“Leaving Joel would’ve only made things worse. He was never going to change. Eventually another woman would’ve had to suffer through what I did. I couldn’t let that happen. So, I had to be the one to save him from himself, and to save others from him.

“To save him, to save everyone, I had to kill him. So I did… as you can see from who I’m wearing.”