I ran into Dylan two months after I had left. I walked into my favorite coffee bar one afternoon and did a double take when I saw him sitting at a table in the corner. I almost didn’t recognize him; he looked so thin, and pale. But, then I should have known that he wouldn’t take care of himself; that he would punish himself for what had happened, being harder on himself than even I was. Seeing him there, it made me realize a couple things: I still loved him, and he still needed me.
Now before you think I’m weak for still having feelings for him, you need to know I also felt a lot of rage. Up until then I had been sad, but had never really felt much anger. Standing there, seeing him looking so pale and sick, maybe it all really hit home and I was suddenly so mad at him for what he had done, not only to me, but also to himself, and even more, to us.
“Dylan,” I said, walking up behind him. He jumped at the sound of my voice, as he hadn’t noticed me there yet.
“Christian.” He turned; I could see the sadness in his eyes.
“How are you?”
He shrugged. “You look good,” he said with a slight grin.
“You look like shit,” I said pulling up the chair across from him.
He chewed his bottom lip and shrugged again.
“Are you on meds?”
He shook his head no.
“Why? Going for a slow suicide?” My anger stilted my words.
He rolled his lips into his mouth and closed his eyes. As much as he had hurt me, it was obvious that he had hurt himself more.
I sighed, realizing what I needed, what I wanted to do. “Let’s go home.”
His eyes sprang open. “Home?”
“Yes, can I come back home?”
His brow wrinkled. “Why would you want to?”
“Because Dylan, you need me. And as much as you’ve hurt me, I still love you.”
I’m not sure which of us was more surprised by my decision, but we left the coffee shop and went back to our apartment. I moved over what belongings I had that weekend.
Yeah, I know, you think I’m a schmuck. Maybe I am, but Dylan did need me and maybe even more than that, I needed to be needed. I wanted something good to come from all this. Maybe the reason I was put on this earth was to take care of Dylan. Would that be so bad? Wait, don’t answer that.
All I knew was that I couldn’t walk away from him, that I had to be there with him.
There were some major differences in our relationship when I first moved back in. It wasn’t like we just kissed and made up. I didn’t move back into our bedroom, not at first anyway. I was there because I loved him, but I wasn’t ready to forgive him yet.
At my insistence he did go back to his doctor and got on the cocktail. He also started eating right, getting more sleep and taking better care of himself. I’m not sure if it was gratitude that I was giving him another chance or my consist nagging, but he went along with it and within a couple of weeks he was starting to look and feel better.
One night a few weeks later, we were sitting in the living room watching TV.
“Have you gotten tested, Christian?” he asked out of the blue.
It caught me totally off guard, but I was honest with him, “No.”
“Why? You know you really should. I mean, if you are, then the earlier you start on…”
I stopped him right there. “After all that had happened I didn’t think I could deal with finding out I was positive, okay?”
Dylan winced, I knew my words were like a slap in the face to him, but shit, why should I spare his feelings? My anger, always lurking just below the surface, had shown again.
“Besides, it’s not like I’m having any sex right now, so, I figured it could wait a few weeks. At least until I had my head on straight again,” I tried to explain, although I’m not sure why, except that there was a part of me that enjoyed hurting him, seeing the affects of my words. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true.
“Christian,” he whispered my name as if saying it would alleviate some of the pain we were both feeling. “You have no idea how sorry I am. I would give anything to not have hurt you. I hate myself for what I’ve done.”
I nodded. “I know, Dylan. And there is a part of me that wants to forgive you, but I feel so betrayed. I thought we were perfect.”
“You were perfect, Christian, you still are; the perfect boyfriend. I’m the one that is fucked up. I know that.”
“So how do we get past this? How do we go on from here?”
“Come to a meeting with me. They have a great support group for the spouses. I think it might help.”
I only shook my head. This whole thing just seemed like a crutch to me. ‘Oh, I’m not responsible for my actions cause I have this addiction and it couldn’t be helped.’ It sounded like a lame excuse for bad behavior to me and I wasn’t interested in feeding that beast.