In my last moments before leaving, my hand still reaching out for the half-Tiefling, new in my wake...in the last moments of experience before vanishing into the limbo of in-between again, gone from my world and my ways...he speaks to me.
"Stop feeling this way," he says. Not the Tiefling. The other in my orbit. "Stop feeling this way." It rings within me as I sink into the grey spaces, gone for another few days of non-reality. The thing is, I think he means it. And all my gods stand as witnesses to this--I don't know how to stop. And I don't know what to think.
"Stop feeling this way." This way...this particular way...which way? The message was unclear. And I couldn't spare the time to explore it, not then. Stop feeling? Is that what he meant? Is that where I need to halt, not move forward, not feel anything else? Un-experience. Un-feel. Un-do any damage I've done...if I've done any...and how do I do this?
I float in grey limbo, waiting, always waiting. This whole long week, waiting in the chamber of ennui. Giving me far too much time to think.
"Stop feeling this way." Stop feeling? But as much as I'm a creature of logic, flawed as mine is at times, I'm a creature of emotion, passion, directed feeling. I can't not feel this way in this place. I can't not feel. All my choices have led me to the place where the risk of feeling outweighs the need for protection. I won't easily change...because I forced the change in the beginning of this, feeling it necessary. As much heartbreak as it's brought me, it's brought me greater joy, and right now, I need that. Joy and pain, laughter and sighs, anger and confusion, all the rich pageantry of emotion I've fought so hard to experience...I need that. I need it.
But what does he want of me? Does he want me not to care for him? I do. I think I started to care for him the first night we seriously talked, as I watched the building go up around us, plank by plank, beam by beam, nearly watched the nails go in...I can't not, at this point. Does he want me not to feel for him? I do. I think that also started to happen from that first night. Does he want me not to love him?
Love, ah, well...I've been doing my level best not to love him. Mayhap that's part of the problem. I see no difficulty in love that cannot, will not, be returned. Mayhap it's too much effort on my part not to love. Mayhap it's what gets me in the end, love and loss, heartbreak and separation, train wrecks and all.
And even with that, I feel--I feel--I take nothing from him, by what I feel, by how I care, by what I choose. My feelings are my own. I demand little. I would not dream of taking him from his life, his love, his choices. It's his life--I'm interfering only to the extent he allows. The minute he says no--the minute any of them say no--though it tears new holes in me, I'm away, I'm gone, I'm not a part of him, of them, longer.
Save in the shadows of my own heart, where all those who've left me, leave a little behind. Think...portraits, mayhap, if it helps to make sense of it. Strung out in uneven procession, hidden away in a gallery where the windows are draped in heavy dark cloth.
Some of those faces now are so hung with shadows I can no longer make out distinct features. Some are still brightly lit. Some are fading day by day, even the frames their portraits are in evaporating into shadowglow, their vibrancy dimming, their relevance escaping me.
I try not to visit often.
I am used to privation, deprivation, long soul's suffering, abandonment and pain. These are my guideposts in all the landscapes I walk. These are the signs I trust. I get nervous when things go well, when there aren't complications, when everything is smooth and joyous. I look for the thorn on the rose. I look for the acid in the sweet.
Mayhap we've reached one of my signposts, then. "Stop feeling this way." Stop feeling this way for him? Or stop feeling at all?
And all I can say is...I'll try. I think I'll fail. But I'll try still. Because he's asked me. I will always, ever, do everything I can to give the ones I care for what they want.
Even if what they want isn't me.
"Stop feeling this way"...I wish the request had translated better. Mayhap, the first thing I need to do, is verify what he meant at all, before I try to accede to those wishes.
It wouldn't be the first time impulsive action on my part sped the downfall of a relationship. And I misdoubt it will be the last.
And stop, stop feeling, stop caring, stop...everything? Brings us to detachment. Which has never been my strong suit. And if it's being asked of me now...it will be hard, so hard. Mayhap...too hard.
Mayhap I need to detach anyway.
"Stop feeling this way."