Sapphire and I started to rot almost instantly. All the things we had together before Angel had festered, and it became clear to both of us that we were staying together because of familiarity. Just wait. I’m going to give you an example. Just give me a minute. This one thing first.
She worked second shift at Steak and Shake, and that is where I was when I wasn’t with Bekah, at work, or in class. I would sit in the back far corner, drink Dr. Pepper and do homework or write. She introduced me to a guy, we will call him Rodeo, and me and him became very close.
It became obvious almost right away that he was in love with Sapphire but age separated them. Where she was 19 turning 20, he was closer to fifty-six or sixty. He ate all his dinners at her restaurant and was a favored regular with everyone there. But when he talked about Sapphire or was around her, it was crystal clear that he ached for her.
The three of us went on spring break that year. We went to Galveston, Texas to the beach and the sun and the shopping and the sand. We rode in his truck and I watched him want her. I only bring this up because it became an issue with me. Every time I was around, he got a look to him. He had a kind of glare that he would get every now and then. He was a constant reminder that someone else wanted my girl. It bothered me.
So, I understood when Sapphire began to resent Bekah. It was in the little things Bekah did. The long hugs where we would hold each other for a breath or two too long. The way Guardian looked at Bekah and the way we all talked about her. There was a tension brewing, and very quickly Sapphire and I realized we were going to have to deal with it. There was a person between us and that person had to go, or we had to split. We knew it but we could not confront each other about it. It was bold every time Bekah was around, but both me and Sapphire refused to talk about it.
Now for that example.
When me and Sapphire had broken up, she had a night with another guy. He was cool and interesting and artistic. He was a writer, charismatic and a bit entrancing. He was easy to like and it was obvious they would have made a great couple. I thought about it all the time. Him and her. And I realized these two people could be happy together.
One day when she got off, we left Steak and Shake and went to an entirely different restaurant to do homework and hang out. While we sat and ate, I finally broached the topic.
“Whatever happened to you and Clean? Why didn’t you two work out?” I said. Part of me was jealous. Another part of me was thinking on a different level. What if I could just hand her off to a man who would respect her, treat her right and make her happy? I could just slip out and slip him in, and maybe we could break it all off without edges. Without barbs and burrs that would cut or snare anyone.
She looked at me with an exhausted look and shook her head. “It would never work between me and Clean.”
“Why?” I said.
“Because him and I would be healthy. Our relationship would be loving and supporting.” She looked at me with a wave of her hand and smiled a sad, horrifying smile. “I can’t be in a healthy, loving relationship. All I can have is you.” Then she went back to her plate. And I went back to mine.
Our lives had become a nightmare. We no longer stayed together because we cared about each other at all. We were together because of habit. We were together because two broken pieces almost make a whole.
I have thought about this for a long time. I have been over all of it in my mind, and I think I can put it into words that make some sense to me.
My bridge with Bekah was burned. Her family had accepted me. We had a shared experience. They had embraced the idea of me and Bekah getting married and they wanted it. When I had broken Bekah’s heart, I had broken theirs as well. Her grandparents, once so happy to have me in their home, resented me and had nothing but bad things to say about me. Her parents were somehow vindicated now. They had never accepted the idea that I really wanted to marry Bekah. They had rushed the wedding, had rushed the proposal. They had been tapping their foot from the beginning of the relationship, wanting me to get on with marrying their daughter. My understanding was that it was all or nothing. When Shadow broke the wedding off, he had known that in doing that he was burning all those bridges. None of them would ever let him back in. He was out forever now, and there was a bit more to it.
Shadow was furious. Furious with her parents. He had something real and life-affirming, and they shattered it with one conversation. He had forgiven Bekah the moment he had gotten together with Sapphire, but he still seethed in his hate of her parents. The title Corrupter still rattled around in his skull. He was charged with rage for them.
These two things made Bekah an impossibility. See, in his mind there was no Bekah without her family. Her family had moved in so quickly the first time that her and her family were synonymous with each other. Whereas I could have a relationship with Sapphire even though her dad hated me. I could not with Bekah. I could not separate her from her people at all.
So, the nightmare was real. Sapphire probably belonged with Clean. They would have at least made each other happy. I belonged with Bekah. It was as plain as the air I breathed. But for whatever reason we clung to each other, Sapphire and I, both feeling trapped but holding on nonetheless.
Things reached a boiling point that summer. Sapphire and Bekah were trying to be friends. We would all do things together all the time. Well, when summer came and I left Kentwood, Sapphire and I decided to move in together. But I didn’t have a job and her father refused to let her move in with me and be a “deadbeat.” So I had to get a job before we got an apartment. So, while I looked, I stayed with Bekah.
We lived in the same apartment, Bekah and I. We slept in her bed. Guardian held her at night, and during the day Shadow was Sapphire’s boyfriend. We would all go to Bekah’s house to watch movies and drink, and one night we did just that.
When we were all too drunk to drive, and we were bedding down for the night, I slept on the floor with Sapphire in the living room. Bekah went to her bed. She came out shortly after and asked us if we wanted to sleep in her bed. She reminded us of the night I had gotten drunk and wandered the city and ended up in her bed. It was a king and would fit us all, so she wanted us to come to her room.
Sapphire wanted to stay in the living room in the floor.
But Bekah was drunk. After a few minutes of laying in her bed alone, she started to cry. She started to beg us to come sleep with her. Then finally she yelled out, “Why don’t you love me anymore?”
Guardian, Servant, Shadow, Artist, all of our hearts shattered and in the living room we began to cry. Sapphire heard this and the last die was cast.
When we did move in together, Sapphire said that Bekah was unwelcome. If they were really friends then Bekah would not be trying to break us up. She said that Bekah had to go. That it needed to end between me and Bekah, and the friendship had to be closed. She gave me an ultimatum, her or Bekah.
But we were so unhealthy this question would hover between us for weeks and months still. I met Bekah outside the house, and Sapphire kept waiting.
Without someone forcing the issue, the nightmare would not end. It would keep going, our relationship unstable on its feet, stumbling and looking for a place to fall and die.
Both of us just wanted it to be over.
Finally, one day Sapphire looked at me and said, “Yours and Bekah’s love story is the greatest that ever existed. You two survived a year and a half long relationship with another person.” Finally, she asked me to leave. I stayed long enough to find a roommate and get out.
She was gone. Sapphire’s heart had been broken, her hate for Bekah and I was real and deserved.
It was a dark time in my life. But just hold out a little longer. I’m about to get to Normal Street. It’s about to get so much worse.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.