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'Worse'

Language > English
Type > Original fiction
Length > Short
Notes > Which life would've been preferable? Which pain worse? We all look back and wonder, sometimes. Even if deep down we know.

***

I sometimes wonder where I would be now if I hadn’t met you. I know there’s no point in wondering, of course. I know where I would be – or I have a general idea anyway. Living under bridges; half dead in the gutter; completely dead in a dusty room in some godforsaken building. What I have now may not be perfect but the alternative is endlessly worse. When things seem too rough to handle, I remind myself of that: it could’ve been worse. What’s more – I’ve been through worse than what I now call ‘bad’. And still it’s unbearable at times.

Both are thanks to you; the good, and the horrible. The pleasure and the pain. The life I have now and the anguish I go through. You pulled me out of the shit I was neck-deep stuck in. You cleaned me up and turned me around. You gave me a mirror and made me like what I saw and you showed me sides – to life, to myself – that I could never have dreamed of existing. You polished my existence until it shimmered and covered up the dark spots that wouldn’t come out; with table cloths, with pretty pictures, with vases full of flowers. It wasn’t perfect – I will never be perfect – but it was as close as I would ever get and it was good enough for you.

And then you left.

I know it was not your fault, or anyone’s for that matter, but I still can’t help hating you for it sometimes. You showed me beauty and then you went away and took most of it with you. You gave me a life worth living, then shattered it. Now I live amongst ruins and shards. I cleaned up most of it but some parts are still stuck and some scratches won’t leave. I know it could be worse; I know this is, despite all, the preferable possibility. I could be under that bridge, in that gutter. In stead I’m here and it’s good. But I could also be numb and uncaring – and in stead, I hurt. I despair. And part of me says that it’s okay, that despite the pain this is still the lesser of two evils. But another treacherous, deeply wounded part says it is not. I was cold and sick and poor and possibly dying – but my emotions were frigid, my heart numb. It didn’t love. It didn’t hurt.
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