It was summertime, and I was in a bad place. A soul-wrecking, nightmare-inducing, roller-coaster ride from hell. I’m talking about waking up every morning still drunk in some unrecognizable hell hole with no clue how I got there and no desire to find out. I’m talking about the kind of dirty you can’t bathe away. These were my dark days — when the cuts on my wrists were too fresh to scar, when my lips tasted like a dozen strangers with names I couldn’t recall. I lived a life of compulsory self-destruction; because I had ceased belonging to the functioning world, I felt compelled to become its antithesis.
That summer, amidst the carnage of my deteriorating life, I met a girl named Taylor. Ordinary name, isn’t it? Deceptively so. Taylor was fascinating, vibrant, an enigma. I’m not going to be able to tell you exactly what was so wonderful about her, but I’d imagine it’s something like love at first sight with a dash of tragedy and sin thrown into the mix. I met her at some party and it struck me immediately that she was different; somehow more than anyone else I’d ever known.
Taylor had a lip ring. I’m not sure why that’s important, but it is. She kissed me and I tasted something entirely foreign, a savage energy that I wanted to know as intimately as my own mind. Hers was an essence I wanted to conquer. Finally, I’d met someone as wild as I was, as deeply and utterly taken with destruction and the seemingly limitless nature of man’s capacity for wreckage.
Our affair was brief — we met on a few other occasions, at parties, late at night when the black sky hushed up doubts and brought our darker natures forward. I suppose we were never really lovers, but I like to think that we could have been, if we’d only given it the chance.
The last time I saw her was at a Halloween party. After that, she just disappeared. Dropped off the grid, erased everyone from her life, and started over. If I had to guess, I’d say she’d finally had enough of self-destruction and pain — lord knows I did after a while.
I feel like it’s important to mention that never before in my life, and never again since, have I felt any inkling of attraction towards another woman. Taylor was an anomaly, a force that existed outside of gender or sexuality. In the years since I last saw her, I’ve often woken from dreams of her holding me, stroking my hair in the corner of a smoky room. When I think of my past, she remains something of a curiosity, an entity I could never fully grasp, an experience that left me questioning my own identity.
From what I’ve heard from other people, she’s different now. They say she found God, that she fell in love with some good religious boy. That she’s happy now. From what I’ve heard, I doubt I’d still know her if I met her again. I’d like to be happy for her, but the thing is, she may have changed, but I’m not that different. I still live in a world dominated by destructive forces. I still thrive on wild nights when the moon pulls my soul from my skin and drives me half mad. I still have an appetite for danger and a restless disposition. I still wake up in strange places, and I still don’t care to know how I end up there.
I guess I just miss her. The old her that is, the one I knew. The one who kissed me half mad with the taste of violence and laughter on her tongue — because she changed me in a strange way, made me a little less closed off, brought my impenetrable solitude to its knees and then left me with nothing but wind.
It just feels bleak, like chain-smoking alone on a winter night, to think that I will never walk into a crowded room and spot her, drink in hand, smiling and beckoning me over. It’s oddly empty to think that that person doesn’t exist anymore.
Nights like these I wonder if I let someone hugely important walk right out of my life that summer. I wonder if I shouldn’t have let her go so easily.
Life is strange, I guess. But man, some nights I wonder… what might have been.