That brief snippet is what I am sharing with you.
This is not my typical story. I write Sci-fi, Fantasy with heroes and villains, epic battles, and sweeping romance. So this is intimidating as well as soul baring for me.
This is a huge ball of yarn that I don't have the time to untangle at the moment. A story like this deserves some deep, heartfelt attention, and if I get it right, then there will be a balance. A bit of soul searching, some healing, a nice hot stud, I'm thinking motorcycle... maybe. I'm not going to make nameless, I don't even have a name for him, relive the past. Essentially, he's worked through most of his issues regarding the attack, making the primary issue--not being able to save Adam, trying to remember who he was before the attack, and meshing it with who he is now. And about learning how to love again, but not only that, learning to love the right person. If I do it right, it can be a very uplifting story.
So here is a small glimpse into a story that named itself, On My Way to Arizona. I hope it touches you as it did me. Because I bawled like a baby when I wrote it.
Anyone who tells you that walking away is easy is a liar. And those who heckle you for doing so, with their snide comments about cowards, yeah, well, fuck you. What do they know about it? Absolutely nothing.
When someone you love is hurt, scarred inside and out, they change. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes so much that the person they used to be is no longer there and a stranger looks out at you from their eyes.
Life, it's not like in the books where love conquers all if you just persevere. One day your partner is fine and the next, the trauma is slowly stealing them from you until the only thing left are memories. One day you are everything they ever want and the next there is nothing about you they like or need. It seems suddenly you're not enough and your love can't fix it. That's not how it works in the real world. I have learned that love, it fixes nothing. Pouring your love into a relationship or a person gets you nowhere.
I thought if I stay long enough that this trauma would pass and we would have a deeper, stronger relationship because we are soul mates, aren't we? I mean, that's what we said, what he said. I believed him—right up to the end when Adam burned all my belongings on the front lawn.
Six months earlier
I had come home and all the things Adam thought I cared about, he had tossed a bonfire in the front yard of our condo. The neighbors stood on their porches and the street curb watching in rapt fascination as Adam burned me out of his life. I had continued to believe there would be an us. I had thought that one day he would heal.
He stood off to the side watching the fire with no expression, occasionally he'd squirt the blaze with lighter fluid and the flame would kick up.
"What are you doing?"
Adam took a drag off his cigarette, a habit he'd picked up after the night that fucked up lives.
"I told you to get out. I don't want you here anymore." He kicked a duffle bag toward me. "If you don't take this and leave, I'll torch it too."
On one hand I was stunned. I didn't want to believe he could mean it, and yet, I could see he did. He stared at me with eyes so full of anger and hate. There was animosity in his words, it seemed to be a constant nowadays, but I could always read his eyes. They never matched the behavior he used sometimes to lash out at me. But this time was different; the hate wasn't only in his words but in his eyes as well and directed solely at me. Seeing that look took my fucking heart out.
"Why?" I choked. I'd done everything the doctors had said I should, every goddamn thing and none of it helped.
"Because every time I look into your face, you remind me. I'm sick of it. I've done everything I can to get you to leave. I made your life fucking hell and you hung on like a bull dog, like you believed every stupid line I ever told you. So I'm making sure you hear me loud and clear. Take the bag and get the fuck out of my life."
Adam flicked the butt of the cigarette and it bounced off my chest before he strode up the walk and sat on the porch chair, lighting up a new cigarette.
Numbly, I picked up the bag and hefted it to my shoulder. I didn't remember how long I simply stood there, waiting for God knows what.
"If you don't get off the front lawn, I'm calling the fucking cops." Adam called from the porch.
Every step I took tore a piece of my heart out. The hard pavement under my feet, the cool night air, nothing really registered. That neighborhood had been home to the both of us for several years. It bordered my favorite strip of ocean but I noticed none of it as I put it behind me. Everything that I loved was gone and I had nothing.
So once again I did what Adam wanted and I left.
See, trauma affects everybody differently. Some of us just show it more than others. So while Adam burned me out of his life, I would walk him out of mine. Because, you see, Adam hadn't been alone when he was drugged and attacked. Everything that happened to him—yeah, it happened to me too. I had done everything I could to be there for him because there was no one who could be there for me. But I couldn't save him, not then, and not now.
So go ahead. Judge me for leaving, for not sticking it out to a happy-fucking-after. Walking away wasn't easy, even when it was the last thing I could do for him.