Want never feels like want. It always feels like need.

That’s what I felt in that moment. Hot and viscous, tightening my chest, constricting my lungs, warming my stomach. And it’s an empty kind of feeling, because it’s not aimed at anyone in specific. It’s a cry for attention screamed into the stratosphere hoping that one person follows the sound of my desperation, brings me back to this Earth, even if it’s to the gritty parts of this world that I used to rid myself of.

whispered lies into the soft give of my body, the taste of shame mixed with stale beer invading my mouth when I part my lips, the too hard thrust fuelled by sounds that sound enough like pleasure that he can pretend he doesn’t hear the pain in them. at least the pain feels real, brings the world into focus.

And I know the word for it is need, because I don’t want this, but too many hours of self-neglect has made the wall between what I want and don’t want crumble to dust. I just want to feel real. Like I’m made of flesh and bones instead of spirit and memories that are haunting this world but won’t ever really be a part of it.

love. lovelovelove. let me wash away this flesh eating infection with liquor before there’s nothing left. and I want and I need and I drown and I suffocate and I allow it to rip me apart. if there’s beauty in misery then I’m finally the flower in the field of weeds you’ve been looking for, darling, because this is what beauty looks like. pathetic sounding sobs over the tear soaked sheets you used to sleep in and dream of people who weren’t me. absolute destruction, like I was caught in Sherman’s march to the sea. it’s a beauty that disturbs others to look at. but this is what you wanted, right? tell me you love me. I don’t care if it’s a lie. give this war a happy ending.

The sky is dark but devoid of stars, hiding from the light of the streetlamps on the sidelines of the rave that has taken over the streets. I don’t even know what we’re celebrating but when I close my eyes and feel the bassline deep in my diaphragm I realise I also don’t care. So I let myself get swept away in the sea of bodies, breath in the smell of spilled alcohol and air mixed with the smoke of tobacco and weed, feel the hot slide of sweat slide into my chest and the small of my back produced by the heat of too many bodies pressing around me and not enough air reaching my lungs. It feels like a distorted fantasy, a return to base needs, strange hands touch me and I laugh, don’t push them away in self-righteous indignation like I’m supposed to. My brain feels hazy and I can’t figure out if this is real because I don’t feel real while simultaneously feelings so fucking real I could scream. For a moment I’m convinced it’s Hell and feel like it was only a matter of time.

and what do you do when the floor slips out from under you and the sky refuses to shelter you? how do you find your place in a world that makes no sense anymore? my entire future is composed of the ashes of plans I made with you, for you, because of you. I was supposed to write plan a and you were supposed to write plan b. I forgot to mention, naively thought it was implied I suppose, that you were supposed to include me in the plan. and how is it that something so integral to my life found it oh so easy to cast me away? explain it to me. I doubt it’ll help bandage the wounds but you’ve hurt me once so you can do it again.

I open my eyes and find myself immediately looking into her eyes. Because fate has a cruel sense of humour, I’m slammed back into reality and feel gratified to see the shock of the impact reflected in her irises. My hands reach out for her, landing tentatively on her waist, and her body feels all wrong when she steps into my space. Another symptom of the loss I’ve been forced to survive is that it’s not attraction that arouses me anymore, I couldn’t even recognise it if I tried. It’s the lost look in her eyes, something that I can understand, and I’m willing to see the beauty in the misery so long as she’s willing to find it in me. And suddenly I understand what it feels like to be Narcissus, as I covet the body of another product of a poisoned life. Because my hands aren’t searching for a compass when they slide under her clothes, I can’t find a map in the lines of her skin and I can’t hear any directions in the soft sighs that leave her mouth.

No, maybe this is how I’ll die, loving only those that mirror the pain I feel, not understanding well enough to walk away, that this kind of desire is just a mirage.

and if I can’t have you, I’ll have what I can take, what will distract from the itch of an addiction I know I’ll never shake because this doesn’t feel like want anymore, it feels like need.

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