There are places I remember going to die that I don't remember returning from. And it makes me wonder.  How absolutely perfectly abhorrent it all is, truly makes me wonder.  Am I already dead?

Is this my punishment?

But then I realize that would mean that atonement and justice were real.  And the very notion of there being sense in this enrages me.  I dream of atonement, but only so much as I forget that it can only be a dream.  There is no sense in this.  There is no sense in any of this.  If there were, then the good would have happened already.

The first girl (1) I fell for was only a girl.  It started when she was 16 and I was 22 and so I thought it was simply inappropriate. But she was attracted to me, and so she would flirt with me.  And I was like puddy in her hands.  But eventually we parted ways.  I knew it was what was best for her.  I said we could e-mail, but that I didn't think we should really talk anymore.  It broke my heart.  And I suspect that it broke hers.  But eventually she found someone she deserved.  Someone who was going to be successful.  Someone who was going to be a doctor, like her.  They are going to get married.

The next woman (2) broke me.  She should have stopped, because I wasn't ready and it was obvious.  She has my virginity now.  And she says she never cheated on me, but I don't believe that for a moment.  Nine months into that, I confronted her about some of the men.  They didn't know I existed, and I felt that was inexcusable.  Instead of telling them I did, she told me she wanted a break.  Then she fucked half a dozen people on our break.  Then she felt so deeply and profoundly guilty about that she felt the need to degrade me by bragging to me about and talking about how boring I was and how all her stoner friends thought I was creepy.  It fucked me up.  It fucked me up so much I can't remember whether it was a year and a half or two and a half years.

But despite being fucked-up, after either half a year or a year and a half I dated another woman (3).  And it was then that I realized that my most recent ex (2) truly never loved me (this is what she confessed to in one of her yell-at-me sessions – we had slow sex while repeating it like a mantra, but that was all just "wishful" thinking.)  Because this woman (3) was truly affection – she wanted to cuddle afterwards.  Unfortunately, I was still quite immature.  Fortunately, she wasn't.  Unfortunately, I woke-up one morning to find her having a schizophrenic break from reality.  Fortunately, she came back fine.  Unfortunately, she went back on her pills and became zombified.

She said it was like a switch.  One moment she adored me, the next she wouldn't even let me touch her.  The pills went in, the feelings left.  It fucked with me, but she never treated me horribly.  It left me hurt, but not limping.  But, I was still limping from the woman who had my virginity and bragged about sleeping with all the guys though (2).  I was still really fucked-up, and shouldn't have dated anyone.  But another 6 months later I was finally starting to get better.  And that's when I met her, the woman of my dreams (4).

I didn't think that women like her existed.  But we had everything in common from our tastes in music to our misanthropy to our creativity to our broader aesthetic tastes to even the color and breed of dog we wanted.  And she liked me, a lot.  She had read some of what I had written, and she thought I was brilliant.  Brilliant is a slight exaggeration, but it still made me feel special.  Then, I figured-out that there was someone else in her life.  That didn't make me feel special.  And when I figured-out that someone else was a kid as young as the girl I felt was too young to have a relationship with (three years earlier), it really got to me.  It's bad for a 22 year old to have a relationship with a 17 year old (she turned 17 before things got flirty.)  For a 25 year old to have a relationship with a 16 year old is absolutely fucking absurd.

I sent mine away, and she made a love pact with hers.  They were going to move in together.  The only woman I had ever loved so deeply, and a child younger than the first woman I had ever loved.  I was jealous.  I was raging pissed.  I felt violated.  I said things I shouldn't have.  But she stressed that we weren't in a relationship.  And so I decided to go with that.  Rather than feel like shit, I decided to date.  Barely a month later, I dated a woman (5).

She was very nice.  But even more than that though, she was very pretty.  We talked, and I could tell that at one point she had been quite intelligent.  I could also tell that something, perhaps drugs or simply a mental atrophy, had now robbed her of much of her capacity.  But she was very pretty.  And so, we fooled around.  I didn't have feeling for her.  It wasn't affectionate or comitted.  It was therefore promiscuous.  I therefore became terrified that I caught something from her.  And the pressure from that, mixed with the pressure from missing my soul mate (4), mixed with her abscent-mindedness, mixed with me realizing that I didn't actually know all that much about her, and produced a deep dread.  I stopped being fun to be around.  That was the end of us.  She thought I was an angel (actually, that's been a reoccurring theme in my relationships, though I have no idea what they are talking about – angels don't engage in promiscuous sexual acts or act so immature).  She thought I would be happy.  She said goodbye.  And with such a clean and easy break-up, I found myself bracing for impact.  I figured that I must have caught something from her.  There is no way that I could get out so easily.  It's never been that easy.  I must have caught something.

Another few months passed.  And my soul mate (4) contacted me again.  She said she was sorry.  She said she understood what I was doing with (5).  She said she wanted to have a relationship with me again. And so we went back to talking 4-5 hours an evening every day. Slowly though, it became apparent that there was more going on with her. And suddenly then, almost all at once, she became distant again. She stresses again that we are only friends.  And I tell her I feel like a can of soup.  When she is horny she is like a cat in heat towards me.  When she is lonely she is like an abandoned duckling towards me.  And when she is satisfied, she stresses that we are only friends.  To her, I feel like a can of soup.  And I tell her this.  I tell her that I can't handle being used again.  We start to work things out.  I start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Finally, it all begins to seem worth it.

And so, as if on queue, someone hacks our e-mail. They delete the angry e-mail from me. She accuses me of hacking her to try and cover my tracks. I accuse her of hacking me to try and get rid of me without having to worry about me directing my anger at her for stringing me along again. She goes postal. I freak-out because I've had to spend a lot of money, reinstall everything, apologize to all my bosses for keeping their data sets in my outbox, etc. It is the end of us.  I am more fucked-up than I ever was.  She stops talking to me.  She says that I must have hacked her, because no one else has a motive to.  This is despite that she has a dozen admirers who hated us, because thus far she had only been affectionate towards me and the kid she had left while I was dating (5).  When she stopped talking to me, it made a lot of really bad people happy.  Including, assumedly, who ever it is that hacked us.  Assumedly, who ever it is that is now playing her (and she is happily drinking every last drop of poison, of this I'm sure.)  And you see, I'm thoroughly convinced that she was my soul mate.

I miss my childhood.  My pain use to be so simple.  It use to be the memory of being a few feet from my dog, about to pick her up, and then her getting splattered by a bus.  It use to mean getting swarmed by hornets. Or having someone randomly assault me and break my arm. Or getting 3rd degree electrical burns.  Or getting attacked by a dog and getting a tear-shaped scar by my eye, or drinking a soda full of ants. It use to mean breaking my collar-bone into three pieces, and having teachers think you are retarded. It use to be so simply as getting concussions and cracked ribs. Or getting tonsils and wisdom teeth out. It use to be knowing your teachers better than your parents and siblings, and never being played with or touched in an appropriate way.  It use to be so much better than this.  It use to be a relative paradise.

I am nostalgic for a time when the only reason I didn't kill myself was because I understood what death wasn't.  But I remember going to places, and laying down in the cold.  And I don't remember returning.  And sometimes, when I look at how poetic it all is, I wonder if I died.  I wonder if this is all atonement.  I wonder if there could be such a thing.  But when I do, it isn't long until I remember.  Until I remember that this isn't a dream.  Until I remember that things have never been so easy on me.  In two more months, I will be able to be tested to see if (5) gave me anything, or if my damage is strictly psychological.  I don't think that I could get off so easily.  I was promiscuous, and I will suffer for it.  Suffering has been the only theme in my life.

But no, that's not quite true.  It couldn't be true.  Because so much as I have suffered, I have also endured.  And I will continue to.  And so much as it is my ability, I will do what I can to protect others from my fate.  I will endure.  And I will do everything within my power to help others endure.

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