How Do You Leave Someone Who Loves You? And Other Songs by Michael Bolton

She’s crying again. She thinks my friends don’t like her, I keep telling her she’s wrong. She thinks I look at other girls and that I wish I was with them and not her. I tell her that I don’t want to be with other girls and I never cheat and I’m tired of swearing over and over again. I get mad and tell her that I will leave if she doesn’t start trusting me. She tells me she will kill herself if I leave. I always swore that I would walk out on anyone that said anything like that. But now that I’m in this situation it is a great deal different than I first imagined. I start to yell at her when she cries.

She tells me that no one has ever hurt her the way that I do and that kills me. But I am not a bad person, at least not anymore. At one time in my life I was a very bad person. And sometimes, when she’s not crying or hurting, she asks me about things that I did before I met her. I can’t answer her. I can’t answer her because she would fall apart and I would feel like a bad person. Once I told her about girls I had sex with and she got mad at me and she hurt. She hurts like the way you do when someone cheats on you, and the hurt she felt never fully went away, and she still brings it up when I do something wrong. She calls me trash, sometimes she hits me when she cries. So now I don’t tell her anything, now I stay quiet.

Once we planned to go on vacation together. She asked if we could go to Mexico. She asked if I had ever gone before. I didn’t answer. I didn’t tell her that I used to walk from San Diego to Tijuana every week to buy drugs. And I’d have to stick doey black pellets wrapped in Saran Wrap up my butt and walk across the boarder and then plop them out into a pan and then sell them to high school kids. I didn’t tell her, that for years, I spent all my money getting high and I rarely had enough cash to buy food. I didn’t tell her that I lived off cans of creamed corn and dog food for months at a time. I didn’t tell her that I lost my job because of my drug problems. I didn’t tell her, that before I found God, I gave men hand jobs in the bathroom at the port authority for money. What do you think she would do if I told her any of that? What would she do if I told her I put strange men’s penises in my mouth for pocket change? I am quiet now.

She fights with me and says all these horrible things because she thinks I don’t care about her. She is testing me; she wants to see if I’m going to leave her, but I won’t, I don’t know how. She tells me that she loves me, that her love for me is greater than her love for anything else. How do you leave someone who loves you more than they love anything else? Why do I want to leave someone like that? How does an ugly person like me have the nerve to want to leave someone like her, someone who is better in every single way? And it’s not even like I want to leave her for someone else, I just want to be alone. I don’t want to fight anymore, I don’t want the tears, and I don’t want the pain. But then what? Then I am alone and I’ll cry for her in the middle of the night. I’ll curse myself for leaving and I will go back to drugs and men’s rooms.

She tells me that I make her miserable and I tell her the same. I dare her to leave me. When she takes a minute to think about it, I tell her I’ll kill myself if she goes. I’m sure she is interested in other men and I can tell her friends don’t like me. I know they say I’m no good for her and that she can do better. She tells me that they like me just fine, but I don’t believe her. How can she want to leave me after I’ve been so good to her?

When I ride in my car alone I think sad thoughts and put on the easy listening music. I listen to Michael Bolton songs and really understand what he is singing about. “How can we be lovers if we can’t be friends?” When I see her after work she is already mad, and for whatever reason, and so am I. We have sex. She leaves in the middle of the night and then comes back a few days later. In between the fights and the hurting we will have laughs, we go out to dinner, and sometimes we see movies.

About the author:

Timmy’s work has appeared in Words! V, Monkey Bicycle, Word Riot, Snow Monkey, Futures Mystery Anthology, Eyeshot, Pindeldyboz, Fiction Warehouse, Thieves Jargon, Hack Writers, Soma Literary Review, Zygote in my Coffee, and The Journal of Modern Post. He has skin like leather and the diamond hard stare of a cobra.