He was like a magical elixir that flowed down my throat whenever he stood by me, giving me confidence, strength, and beauty. He promised me something that no one can ever give me. The way he gently grabbed my hand and pulled me away always captivated me.
We were both children when he pulled me next to him for the very first time. As I lied my back against the barre in ballet class, I saw a pair of grey eyes peering in from the door. His lips pressed into a small grin and I smiled back, risking the anger of my monster instructor. “Why can’t you just focus?” my dance teacher spat at me, “This is why you’ll never make the lead role!” My entire body froze. Her words tangled around me, taking all the oxygen from my lungs. A fist seemed to squeeze me tightly. My heart struggled to keep up with pumping blood through my veins and I slid down to the frigid floor.
He ran next to me, holding those trembling hands of mine. I laid my little fingers in his palm and he lifted me up. I looked straight at him, expecting a worried expression, but his smile remained just as serene as before. He told me to prove that woman wrong. He told me I was stronger than she described, that I could be the star and make her regret saying I wasn’t good enough. All I had to do was to work hard. Everyday after that, he watched me practice for hours at a time, motivating me with how priceless the sensation of proving my teacher wrong would be. And in three months, my face filled every corner of my dance studio as the lead dancer for our production ads. From that moment on, I knew I would always want him by my side. Nothing in the world infatuated me like the sound of his voice, accompanying me through every challenge.
Every exam, every test, every cruel rumor, and every mean girl, he remained by my side, telling me exactly how to get through it and be happy. He was always the elixir that made everything better and once I took a sip, I couldn’t stop. In class he would always lean over and pass notes that said something like “Hey! Work harder and you feel amazing! If you don’t let those idiots beat you next time, you’ll be the best.” When I felt lazy, he always told me “Don’t you want to be efficient? That takes effort doesn’t it? It’s worth it!” His words ensured that I look as flawless as possible whenever I left the house. He demanded that my room stayed spotless at all times. My life would’ve fallen apart without him with me. I needed his company. He made me feel like everything would be okay eventually. I was in love with him.
We became so close that I wouldn’t want to go anywhere without his company. I only smiled when I received his approval and I couldn’t stand it when others criticized me for loving him. But as we spent almost every second together, I realized the changes in his attitude towards me. The giggly smile of his from ten years again evolved into a cold smirk. He rarely spoke to me with passion anymore, and instead, his tone grew more demanding and sharp. I was furious. Was I not good enough for him? Did I not accompany him through so many things? His coldness towards me only increased my desire for him and I tried to follow exactly what he would say. He did not change. The voice I once craved to hear became flat and cruel. Instead of encouragement, he would say, “You’re lazy and useless,” or, “You’re hideous.” Rather than motivation, he began criticizing me for failing his hopes. In a month, it wasn’t rare for him to insult me and push me around on a daily basis. My heart was in pain, yet I knew I still needed him. It no longer was a real relationship, but the more aggressive he became, the more I felt obligated to gain his love, his approval.
The consequences of loving a person like that did not go unnoticed by those around me. Questions about my bruises, sunken face, and dark circles irritated me incredibly. I didn’t know what I was frustrated at. My old friends dreaded him and stopped associating with him. My family members blamed me for my miserable situation. I had nothing more except for him.
Was I mad at my friends and family for calling out my mistakes? Was I mad at myself? At Him? I knew he was no good for me, but I yearned to have him. I couldn’t separate his desires from my own. All I knew was that voice of his still managed to make me feel invincible at times. Everyone else seemed to abandon me in life, I was in fear to lose him as well. My elixir now burned as it passed through my throat, but I felt I needed it to survive.
His power over me grew, but I no longer wanted to obey. The more I tried to leave him, the stronger he would fight back. My determination to leave him forever did not waver. I refused to listening to him, the voice I once relied on to get me through each day. I did not need him to feel confident and worthy. If it weren’t for his desire to compare and degrade me in the first place, I wouldn’t have the need to crave his approval.
I realized one thing.
The elixir I’ve been drinking has been poison the whole time.