Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
“Draped in appealing hues, impeccably concealing the shattered expectations, obsession incapacitates the cognitive abilities, compelling impulses to take over.”- Shaina Ruth Murray
It all started when I began noticing you in my father’s hand every day of the week, at the age of six. The force of his palm against my cheek grew in magnitude every time he consumed you. I never understood what you frankly were, the rage that devoured him or the fuel to his flames. For years I saw you in the same position. Some days, you’d dress differently, but the fury that followed remained perpetual. I watched as people walked in and out of his life. Relatives, friends and acquaintances. He was intimately connected to you, barely ever cognizant of his responsibilities that the people who cared for him eventually gave up. I was the only one who stayed by his side while he stayed by yours. It was probably because I had nowhere to escape, no one to lean on.
As soon as I got the chance, I ran away from what people said was my home but what felt like a dungeon. I vainly tried to make a name for myself but you crept back into my life. The first time I experienced your magic on my own was at a dormitory party, out of peer pressure. You gave me a night I could never forget. That’s when my perspective gradually shifted from grudge to irresistible fascination. You always had great timing, you’d find your way back to me whenever I was under stress, anxiety, or in depression. Your fragrance on my comrades only made me admire you more. There were days when I’d have you on my mind all day yet manage to attend classes, finish assignments, deliver seminars, all-in-all mesmerize the people around me. That’s when I realized you had become a form of motivation, one I could return to at the end of the day, without any repercussions, at least that’s what I thought.
Soon the motivation whirled into obsession. I would do anything to hide from my responsibilities, so I could have you and only you for the entire day. I’d make excuses to stay in my room, dozing off with you in my arms. For a while I found a means of distraction from you. However, he wasn’t as captivating as you were. He judged me for prioritizing you over him. That day, I chose you over him yet again. That’s when I realized how much you meant to me. Everyone began to notice you even when you weren’t around me. I was hopelessly under your influence. Your spirits would follow me around for days, the edge, the daze, the chills and the apathy.
When people told me to be vigilant, I began to feel a lot like my father. People used to tell him to be cautious out of concern but he’d howl at them in return. I did not want to end up like him, so I decided to take the suggestions somewhat seriously. I worked overtime to catch up on everything I had neglected whilst being intoxicated. I liked the sense of control I felt when I began to concentrate on things that seemed to matter. However, at the back of my mind, I’d still think about you. For a few years, I managed to stay away from you, barely any inches, but still away. Those inches drew the line between sanity and insanity.
I landed a futile job and was told it was your fault, that you had given me history that I could never erase. That’s when I realized you deserved to be a part of my life. You’ve always been a part of it. There’s nothing better that would come out of not having you around. Just like that, you were back in my hand. Thankfully, my nugatory job made me worthy enough to have you. This time however, things were different. You’d no longer make me feel numb enough. You’d no longer give me the peace and sleep I deserved. You’d no longer make me forget how much of a disappointment I’d become, even for myself. You’d only make me nauseous and anxious. As much as I wanted a break from you, I was afraid I’d succumb without you numbing my bones.
People began to look at me the same, terrible way they looked at my father. Sadly, I did not have an offspring to torture and throw my rage, disgust and disappointment at. I consumed so much of you one night that you almost consumed me. That’s how I ended up in this institution, God knows how long ago. I no longer have a job, friends, family, even a house. My ever so disappointed father shows up now and then to pay the staff, to make sure I’m breathing but some days from the look that he gives me, it feels like he merely wants to make sure I’m no longer breathing. The drugs I’m on sometimes make me hate you but the other times make me crave for you, desperately. I tried getting ahold of you once. Few sips in and I was throwing up like I was possessed, sweating profusely, gasping for air. It began to seem as if you were trying to steal the only thing that I had, my body. Perhaps you wanted to wipe my existence off the face of the Earth.
You no longer give me satisfaction. You no longer fill the void inside me. In fact, you make the void deeper, unfathomable. These days, all I do is detest you. You irretrievably ruined a happy family. My happy family. I can no longer gather the warmth and affection I thought you deserved. How did we become each other’s enemies? When did our relationship become so lethal?
Turns out, I was not the only one you exploited. It feels good to receive support instead of critical judgements from the people around me. I have to let you go for my own good. I know it is going to be a very difficult journey and am going to see you around a lot, especially during troubling times. I sincerely hope you have a life of your own, without sucking out the life from others for once!
Signing off, your former devotee.