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* * *

 

I couldn’t do any better. I didn’t deserve better. You gave me things and I ruined them. I ruined you. Thank-you for trying. I love that you tried. I am sorry for the years that I have spent pushing you all away. I am sorry for the bitter words that I have slung like mud so effortlessly without thought only to come back to you for retribution. I do not deserve your forgiveness. I do not deserve you.

* * *

More than a year had passed since Ryan had escaped. It had been the hardest year so far. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t wake up without feeling the paralysing guilt of it all. It should have been me. Ryan should be here, surrounded by the love of her family and friends. I should have been dragged away from this place back into the pits of hell where I had come from. Ryan had been reduced to yet another of my victims. I had prayed upon her until she was weak enough for me to completely destroy everything good in her. I had done it. I was still here, this waste of space, this grotesque anomaly, trapped in this world that didn’t want me. The only thing that had wanted me I had destroyed. Now I was alone and empty. I could never hope for more.

* * *

 

Something inside of me is missing. Deep inside where the human parts are supposed to be, I am empty, I am without. Where others have love, goodness, hopes and dreams, I have only an insatiable pit of nothingness. My emptiness and my worthlessness have been my only companion, the only things that truly understand me, the only things to never leave me. I have hidden here, coddling what was left of me the tiny bits that I could call ‘me’ all the while I have been nothing., too afraid to do anything.

* * *

 

“What would you like to talk about this week?” Therapy had not been my idea. Following Ryan’s death my father had tried everything to reach me. He couldn’t. He would never understand. I would tell him the truth of it all and he would look at me differently. He would know the sad truth of it all, that I was a murderer, that I was a plague, that I was lacking and undeserving. No. I couldn’t tell him, so here I was, suffering through one hour sessions twice a week with this unsavoury character, a one Dr. Roxberg.

“Nothing,” it was my standard reply as I picked at the black polish on my finger nails. He wasn’t helping me. Talking about things never helped, it just made me remember. I’d do anything to forget.

“There’s nothing at all you’d like to tell me about?”

“I said no.” What could he do for me? What could anyone do for me. There was no way to fix this, no way to fix me. A simple pat on the head would not make all of this go away. It wouldn’t undo all of the damage I’d already done. I’d dug this hole too deep, there was no escaping it now. All that was left for me was to wallow and hope that one day I’d wake up to a brighter day.

“Vesuvius, you can talk to me. I look at you and I see a girl with so much promise, so much potential, and I know you could excel and be everything you were meant to be if you’d just let go and stop holding yourself back. I could help you do that.” LIAR! You have no potential. You have nothing. Of course he was lying. No polite person was going to sit in front of me and tell me the truth. He couldn’t tell me that I was worthless, that I’d never be or have anything. My parents paid him to spew all of his happy crap from his mouth. None of it meant anything to me.

“Potential? Whatever.”

He sank back in his chair, obviously defeated. SHE was stronger than I thought. SHE could bring anyone down., push anyone away. Thank God for HER. “Well, we’ve got the hour. Why don’t you tell me about Ben? You talked a little of him in our last session.”

Oh Ben. A wave of guilt washed over me threatening to pull me under, I couldn’t breath. What was I doing with him? My first boyfriend and I was dating my dead best friend’s ex-boyfriend. I had killed my best friend and had stolen the only things she’d called her own. Maybe that had been my plan all along, to force myself into her life and take everything I could until she was all used up and then I would discard her like garbage. You’re disgusting. “What is he like?” Roxberg coaxed when I didn’t respond.

“He’s more than I should have.”

* * *

 

Every opportunity was given to me to make something out of myself. I tried. There is nothing here to build on, nothing to improve upon. Instead I have searched in vain for something to validate me, for something to complete me. I stayed in hopes of finding something better, of finally finding myself. I have found myself, and there can be no denying what the self is. I am a haunting nothingness, a hallow empty shell masquerading as a scared little girl. I have embraced and accepted myself in all of my rotten meaninglessness. This is why I am here tonight for I can be nothing else but this. I can be nothing more than empty, worthless and hallow. I can be nothing.

* * *

 

“What’s the matter Ben? You haven’t eaten anything. Are you sure nothing is wrong?” It had been beautiful up until this evening. Ben was perfect in his beauty and the way he cared for me. His touch was always warm, his words always soft and pretty. He would whisper phrases into my ear so full of promise, so full of hope and joy, like he actually loved me, like he actually wanted to be here with me existing in the same space in the same moment.

He was older than I by four years. At twenty-one he had already achieved an undergraduate degree and would be continuing onto law school the following year. He had so much going for him and he had chosen me to be at his side. It was so much more than I should have had. It should have all been hers. Still, I played along. How could I not, it was all so beguiling. It was so peaceful to pretend that his acceptance was mine, that his love was mine, that the comfort of the relationship belonged to me and wasn’t meant for anyone else. I could not tell him the truth, that I deserved none of this. I wish that I had done him the favour of ending it before this night, or ending it before I had ruined him.

* * *

He shouldn’t have been in this with me. It was so unfair of me to have shared myself with him. I had poisoned him, and destroyed him. I am so sorry.

* * *

 

He got up from the kitchen table in the home we now shared. “Ben, please tell me what’s going on.” I pleaded.

He said nothing as he forked the dinner I had made for him into the garbage. He wouldn’t look at me, he kept his back to me still remaining silent as he rinsed his plate off before setting it in the dish washer then exiting the room.

I stared at my plate confused. What do you expect? Smiles and kisses? This is YOU for Christ’s sake. This isn’t a fairy tale, or a movie. This is your life. YOUR life, you’re in it. How could to expect any better? I was no longer hungry either. I emptied my plate before following Ben into the bedroom in a desperate attempt to retain what was not mine, what I had stolen.

He sat on the bed wearing only his under shorts, his shoulders slumped, head in his hands. Seeing him this way I was reminded of how perfect he was. He belonged on a movie screen somewhere. He deserved a pedestal where he could sit while girls threw themselves at his feet and dreamed o f one day being his. He didn’t belong here with me. He was everything I shouldn’t have had, everything I should never have touched.

I sat down beside his and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Please don’t,” he said as he rose from the bed.

“Ben,” I looked up at him earnestly. “Please talk to me,” I begged as tears swelled in the corner of my eyes.

He didn’t say anything. It all happened so fast. I had pushed him too far. His hand rose above me and the back of his hand connected with my cheek with a sickening thud. I rolled off of the bed onto the floor and before I could react he was above me. He remained silent as he grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me to my feet.

His fist was next, landing just bellow my belly button once, then twice before I was on the floor again, my arms raised in an attempt to fend off any more blows. He grabbed me by the wrist pulling me up again only to fling me onto the bed we had shared. He slapped me again, the ring he wore slicing the skin above my right eye.

“Ben,” I managed a muffled cry before he hit my mouth then stopped. Why had he stopped? I deserved so much more. Hit me again, SHE cried out.

“Fuck, look at this shit.” As he retreated from the room I curled up into a ball on the bed hugging my legs to my chest.

“Ben. Oh Ben,” I whined as I hugged myself. Well, here we are alone again. You and me. Oh stop your crying. It’ll be alright. You shouldn’t have expected more. You stupid, stupid girl. You should never have expected anything more than pain.

CHAPTER FIVE:…..

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