Tyler entered my life as if he had always been there; it was almost surreal, the way he came and approached me and made a joke and the next and the next and I couldn’t stop laughing. There was a second date, then a third, and I knew that there would be no one else, ever, that could be like him.
His smell made me think of home. His voice made me calm and relaxed. His hobbies were like mine and he care about all those little, weird things that I cared about.
He was not my type physically, but no matter if you are man or woman – someday you will find that the physical doesn’t matter and that there is an attraction deeper than the physical, an attraction that you can neither stop nor increase, an attraction that just lives like a silent flame in the basement right below your heart. It got warm, hot even, when he came closer. His touch made me tingle, his words made me bite my lips.
Like a little girl, a fifteen or sixteen year old, in love for the first time; that’s what I felt like. That’s what I was. Mentally and emotionally reduced to the level of an early teen. I was there for him, and only for him.
His anger made me sad and made my heart explode. Not that he was angry often; not that he was angry ever – It was just the things that I did.
I was too close to Chris, every boyfriend would have thought that way. Chris was a friend, I told Tyler that many times, a friend, not more, but Tyler couldn’t stop himself. He said that I cared too much about him; he said that he knew that Chris could make me cry and laugh and that only Tyler should make me cry and laugh.
Chris understood. He said it was okay. He said he would be there for me if I ever needed him – and Tyler wasn’t there when Chris said that, but still he knew. Still Tyler knew that part of my hear was with Chris.
If you ask me where the wedge started – it was there and then, with Chris.
I wanted to do everything; I would have given my life and sold my soul, just to be with him. But I couldn’t sell my friends; those that had laughed and cried with me so many times.
Tyler always had ideas and plans. It was hard to stay in touch with my friends.
He was so spontaneous; so creative. He always knew what I would love; as if he knew my deepest thoughts; the things that I would never tell any human. Just my cat because cats don’t care and don’t judge, they just sit and ignore you while you whisper or speak or shout. Trippi never cared about my emotions. She cared about food and sometimes a few hugs or head-scratchings.
Trippi knew my secrets, those that I would never have told even Tyler. But that was the magic about him: There was no need to tell; no need to say a word. He just knew what I feared and what I wanted and what I loved and missed.
“I want to be treated like a princess,” I told Trippy. “I want to be loved and protected.”
Tyler was like a better Trippy, a Trippy that didn’t even need to listen but rather read my wishes straight from my mind.
Tyler. His name even, just soft and warm. When I think about him all I rememeber is how good he made me feel for so long.
I hadn’t told him about Daniel. I hadn’t told hi about the past that we shared – and yet Tyler seemed to know. He must have known. There’s just no other way to explain his anger when I said I would go home and see an old friend.
Old friend. Is that some sort of code that I didn’t know of?
“I know why you’re going home,” he said. “You want to leave me.”
“I never would.”
“You want to leave me to die.”
“You know that,” he said. “I can’t imagine a life without you.”
“I won’t leave you.”
“You better don’t.”
He called me eight times a day, sometimes more often.
It’s not that I minded. I liked the attention; I liked to hear his soothing voice. Just not the words he said.
“Who was that man?”
“You met a man.”
“No I didn’t.”
“I’m sure you did.”
“I know you:”
I hadn’t seen anybody that day, at least not on purpose. Kinsky was the one that saw me.
I wouldn’t have recognized him; not without that weight. He was the one that recognized me near the baking good isle.
“I didn’t meet anyone,” I said to Tyler. “But I ran into a friend.”
“See,” he said. “I knew it.”
“Why are you so jealous.”
“Oh,” he said.
I heard his smile. I always heard his smile.
“You’re so wonderful. I just can’t imagine losing you.”
He was sweet else; always sweet and kind and friendly and happy and he knew what I needed and wanted. He didn’t mind talking for hours and he didn’t mind listening for hours.
“I’m used to that,” he always said. “I just like listening to you.”
At night, sometimes, he sang me to sleep. His voice seemed to come from my past; like a voice I had known for years.
My fears and worries and thoughts; he heard them all. He nodded and smiled and said “That’s okay.” or “You’ll be fine.”
Too much jealousy. That was it. He couldn’t let go.
I stopped going out and I was fine with that.
I stopped calling male friends and I was fine with that.
I stopped calling others at all.
And I was not fine with that.
It’s not that he didn’t allow me. He always said I could but he always made me feel like calling them was betraying him.
To be betrayed, that’s what he was always scared of.
“I heard too many things,” he always said. “I know how women are. I know how you are.”
“How are we then?”
“Oh,” he said. “With the right words and the right jokes – you melt.”
“I’m not like that.”
“You are like that.”
I turned around.
“Oh,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s just because I love you so much. I can’t see you go. I can’t imagine being without you.”
“Yes,” he said. I’m sorry. You can go if you want. I will be okay. I will stand it. I will try not to miss you.”
“It’s okay,” i said. “I’ll go another time.”
But there was no other time.
Evrey time was like that.
“I want to go out.”
“Sure, you can go. I will be fine.”
“Are you sure.”
“You won’t be jealous?”
“Just a bit.”
“Don’t be jealous.”
He smiled. His hand on my cheek.
“How can I not be?”
“Just don’t. Trust me.”
“Can I go?”
“Sure,” he said.” I’ll be right here.”
“You can meet people too.”
“See some friends.”
His hand again, on my cheek.
“I’ll be okay.”
“I can stay.”
“No, you should go.”
He turned his head away.
“I know I bore you.”
“You don’t bore me.”
He turned further away.
“No you don’t.”
“Just go,” he said. “I’m just boring.”
“You’re not boring.”
“Will you stay?”
You can’t resist those eyes.
“Sure,” I said. “I’ll stay.”
You don’t notice it; not once, not twice, not seven times.
You only notice when your friends stop calling.
You only notice when your mother says you never have time.
You only notice when you feel lonely and he’s the only one that’s there.
“He’s not good for you,” said my mother.
“That’s not you speaking.”
“Of course it is.”
“No,” she said. “He got in your head.”
Sow doubt and you will reap the reward.
Sow doubt and I will stop talking to you.
And yet the doubt grew.
He was always there for me.
He was always there.
I felt weak; lonely; sad.
“I need to go out,” I said.
“I need to see people?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“I just need to get out. I need air.”
“I’ll come with you.”
“I want to go alone.”
“But,” he said.
“But you need to be protected.”
“Loved and protected,” he said. “Like a princess.”
“Like a princess?”
Cats don’t speak.
That’s why you talk to them. They don’t speak.
They don’t spill your secrets.
They don’t tell your dreams.
“Yes,” he said. “Like a princess.”
“No,” I whispered.
“You were there.”
“You where there.”
“I was always there for you.”
I ran to the door.
“Stop,” he screamed. “I was always there for you.”
I opened the door. He was just behind me.
“I treat you like a princess,” he said.
I opened the door.
He grabbed my arm.
“Like you always wanted.”
“No,” I said.
“But you want that.”
I stepped through the door.
“But you said that.”
I ran down the stairs. Tyler was a few steps behind me.
“No,” I whispered. “Not to you.”
The front door swung open and I was out.
And he stopped in the door while I ran.
And I ran on.
And I had air.
Chris came an hour later. A stranger had borrowed me her phone. Chris brought two friends.
They were careful at first.
Then they found the hole in the wall; the one right next to the painting; the one right opposite my bed.
Trippy watched while they broke through the wall.
Trippy watched while they revealed the hollow space.
I held Trippy tight when Chris turned around.
“There’s a tunnel,” he said. “We should call the police.”