I’ll go my way if I’m going at all
Believe that the strong red lines
That I will draw will come and cover you up
You are a toxic friend, you told me that yourself.
So that makes it ok.
You creep into people’s life and burrow in like a parasite. That parasite we learnt about in biology; the one that gouges everything else out but leaves the husk. I remember you writing, in liquorice gel pen, on my textbook and you drew an arrow.
I never got my deposit back for that book.
You tell everyone you’re toxic. It’s your favourite word. Yet people still like you. They still flood to you. They swarm around you.
And then you find their weakness. You find their fracture.
And you break them.
But it’s not like you didn’t warn them, is it?
It’s not your fault. You warned them.
I’m toxic, remember?
I remember the one time that I saw you weak. I was at your house and your ex-girlfriend had just broken up with you.
She was just as fucked up as me, you kept saying.
Like it was something to be proud of.
She’s a fuck up, you said.
She’s a fuck up, she’s a fuck up, she’s a fuck up.
Then why do you care that she broke up with you? I’d asked.
Because. You said.
You had nothing else.
And you looked defeated.
For the first time in our friendship, I knew you didn’t have anything planned. You had nothing left to give that night. No comments. No jokes. No barbed words to hurt other people before they hurt you.
No tricks up your sleeve.
And you made us oven pizza. You added extra cheese. And you put it in the oven, stealing an olive from my side (the one without anchovies), and then wiped your hands on your skinny black jeans.
All night you had two white flour handprints on your arse. And I would’ve howled with laughter if I’d dared.
You were weak. You were flawed. You were vulnerable.
Just like the rest of us.
But you would never admit to it, would you?
And I told you my biggest secret that night and then, in the dark glow of the TV on standby, you told me your second biggest.
And we go around in circles. We go around and around. And it’s relentless.
And I scream for weakness. For my heart not to beat itself into a tangle with yours.
For you to mean nothing to me.
For me to go my way and for you just to go…
I scream for my heart to be weak, not strong and not big, so I can justify cutting you out of my life.
But I can’t.
So I don’t.
Let the less-loving one be me.
A wise woman said that once.
I wish I had taken notice.
I wish I had taken notice of the things you said.
But I don’t and I know I won’t.