I made you cry when I walked away
and although I promised that I couldn't stay
every promise don't work out that way
Promises can be broken as easily as the ocean washes away a sandcastle.
“I love you,” means nothing when it’s a lie.
“I love you,” means nothing even when it’s the truth.
That’s just how it is. Meaningless.
It was easy to yell; it was easy to cry; and it was easy to leave. All it took was a closed door, a dead phone, and a yellow taxicab. It was only the staying gone part that was difficult, and it was clear that the both of you understood that pain equally. Maybe you hadn’t felt the same love back then, but the agonizing ache now and forever—both of you knew.
New lovers came and went, passing by like a slow brook between the two of you. Each reminded you of him in simple, stupid ways—each reminded him of you in stupid, simple ways—and none was the other. Nobody was right. Everybody after was water slipping through your fingers—a pleasant refresher, but always gone sooner or later. It was most often too soon. It never tasted like before. It never felt like before, always too cold or lukewarm.
Nobody else could hurt and love you in the same magnitude that he could.
His body was always warm, conforming to yours, hard against soft thighs and gentle against strong bones. He was always so warm. His smile was blindingly radiant, but the cheeky half-asleep smile he’d give you as you were drifting off or waking up—warm. “I love you” was hot and “I hate you” scalded; but his ardent kisses against your skin always felt so warm.
It was simple to know why you always went back; why you always ended up screwing yourself over when you should’ve learnt your lesson the last hundred times. Nobody knew you the way he did. It didn’t matter if they could’ve, for you were too impatient—why wait when somebody already knew how to make you smile?
How to make you cry?
And even when the two of you exchanged awkward smiles across the brook, some new nobody clinging to yours or his arm—you could not forget knowing him so deeply, and him knowing you. You could never forget what it felt like to be so wholly loved.
And you could never forget what it feels like to be so totally betrayed.
The creek broadens. It trickles, and trickles, fast white waves or slow, shiny bubbles. It doesn’t matter what—it’s a distance you’ll never get to cross, the water washing away all hopes and promises that had been made in warm spring days. Bridges burn and fall before they make it to him. You wished you could forget him and turn away. It’d be so much easier to leave.
Yet you always came back.
Soft hands clutched hard muscle, angry kisses razed at raw skin. It was always fervent or desperate, a mistake, a childish, naive gamble that things would go okay this time. An attempt to bridge the brook. An attempt to rebuild a sandcastle together.
But it fell in the end, no matter how much he said, “I love you”.
Maybe you hadn’t meant it. Maybe he’d meant it, at some points, but that didn’t matter. Things wouldn’t work. Why was it possible—allowed—to love somebody so much when it just wouldn’t work?
He loved other people and he hated himself. You loved yourself and hated other people. The mutual, brief spark of connection where the both of you found love in each other was so sweet; so tantalizingly perfect… that it burnt out too quickly in a flume of smoke. Maybe it was too good, and that was why it went bad in the end. In the ends.
That brook, ever widening, always seeing him standing on the other shore. Slowly slowly, quickly quickly, always running, never ending. The distance deepened. Yet you could still see the faint humour glistening in his soft, cerulean eyes. You wondered what he saw, looking across at you, but it was enough to keep him opening his door at 3 AM nights, and it was enough to have him run his hand through your hair when the both of you had vowed “never again”.
“I love you” meant nothing.
“I hate you” means nothing.
Even when you knew it’d wash away, you kept trying anyways, just for another flash of that faint warmth. Even when he knew it’d end up gone, he tried anyways, just to taste happiness once again. Building up something when you knew it’d just die took strength, and you didn’t think you had it. You didn’t think he had it. You had to convince yourself that these brief sparks were enough; that you’d quit soon; that the brook would fall away into a chasm and you’d finally be free.
For now, you could only stare at him from afar, mourning the distance. Would it hurt less if the both of you would just finally give up? Each promise was worthless breath, gone by tomorrow’s light. Each take was worthless effort, gone before you could’ve even said goodbye.
At least you were always sure in the one truth: it always failed. At least there was security in the fact that saying “I love you, Viktor Nikiforov” meant…
Even when it did.
The brook becomes an ocean, and the sand washes away.
show me your scars and I won't walk away
and I know I promised that I couldn't stay, baby
every promise don't work out that way