AUTHOR'S NOTE: After I recently got (re)into Taking Back Sunday with the release of Louder Now, I decided to finally fix the changes. And nearly two years later, I've thrown in some more revisions. There are no second and third person clashes. Everything adds up. And some sentence structure was reinforced and rearranged. The changes, quite possibly, might be worth your while. March 2008.

DEDICATION:Ah, to the completely wonderful Ashley. I know my writing isn't half as great as hers, but this is for Ashley. And for Chris. Everything I know about Taking Back Sunday, I learned from her. It's true. And this is also dedicated to J.T. Lacey. May your words always inspire me to settle for nothing less than perfection.


R
E
2005-2008

Just think of this and me as just a few of the many things to lie around,
To clutter up your shelves.

We spent a phenominal night together, never worrying about regret or what exactly our night would symbolize. It was meant to be a spur of the moment decision with no-strings-attached and no lingering feelings. It was meant to be a chance for redemption. (Look where that got us.)

That was our problem.

We wanted it to be less, to be something we could walk away from. I needed it to be one of those summer flings that lasted all through summer and ended when the fall began.

Unfortunately, it didn't.

Unfortunately he decided to stay. (Without my consent.)

Unfortunately he cluttered up my shelves with his useless junk.

And unfortunately he snored at such a loud caliber that a man, deaf, could hear him a mile away.

And I wish you weren't worth the wait.

I punished myself every damn time I caught a glimpse of his trademark smirk out of the corner of my eye. I even told myself that men like him weren't worth the wait. And maybe, at that rate, he just wasn't worth any of the trouble he was causing.

It was like locking my music nemesis in a sound proof room, forced to endure my favorite music twenty four seven. And in the end, I was only hoping that they'd love it just as much as I did. (No matter how impossible it sounded.) I was hoping for a change of heart.

If only things were that simple.

If only the things that I said or did actually had an impact on that persons lives.

Chances are: it wouldn't. Most people said they didn't care between a quickened heartbeat. And maybe that's true. Maybe . . . just maybe, he didn't care about me enough, and maybe it never really mattered what I did to make him care in the first place.

He wasn't going to change because people hate change. We avoid it. Change means unfamiliarities, new environments, and new ways to see things. It's a lot easier to stay in my comfort zone because change was hard and scary to adjust to. To change meant that I had to do things differently, to at least see it in a new light.

'Cause there's some things I'd like to say to you.

Over and over again, I'd sit in my room on my bed with my legs crossed, and I'd recite the perfect words, the perfect arguments to stop him from pinning it all on me, for making me out to be the bad person. But if I was a bad person, what did that make him?

Mounds upon mounds of excuses piled on top of one another - almost as bad as the pile up I saw on I-78 last week. The truth was I never had any reasons for those excuses. I desperately wanted to believe that it wasn't my fault. It was his. He was responsible for all of it.

Maybe it was because he was always the one who dominated our relationship.

Maybe I couldn't stomach being in his shoes.

And maybe, just maybe, I didn't want to be just like him.

God, I knew I didn't want to be like him. Those words I was sure of. As a writer, there weren't many words I was sure of, but stringing an ingenius (fucking clever) combination of words was what I did best. It was a damn shame that he never understood a single line.

He never understood me, and if he didn't understand me, then how could he possibly understand what I needed to say? Speaking was my best and worst habit all rolled into one fistful of sense.

How could he expect me to say something without using words?

I couldn't.

And I don't think that you know what you've been missing.
'Cause I don't think that you know what you've been missing.

It's too bad that he never realized how good he had things until I was already long gone.

I faintly recalled the message he left me on my cell last week. It was a shitty connection, complete with static and his voice cutting in and out. He was trying to apologize like he meant it, but he fell short. (He didn't mean it. He never did.) So, I accidentally deleted it. And maybe I accidentally deleted the fifty following messages right after. But who's even counting, right?

I didn't quiver. Hell, I didn't even break down once.

Couldn't he see how strong I was for that?

Did he realize that I didn't really need him? (Not now, anyway.)

I bet he never realized how strong I was to move out, first; I never made the first move. I was the one who gave the first words, but leaping into the unknown wasn't my style. It had added up to an overwhelming amount of frustration that I couldn't even begin to count all of it. Plain and simple: I was done with him and all the useless junk he cluttered up my life with.

My heart was the only thing that was still linked, still attached to that piece of him. It was that certain piece that wouldn't allow me to forget about what we once had when things were still good.

Good?

The words couldn't even roll off the tip of my tongue without sounding hollow and fake. If he called what we had - good - then I was absolutely terrified to know what bad was.

And I dare you to forget the marks you left across my neck from those nights when we were both found at our best.

Blissfully perfect.

If I were asked to describe the best time between us, those would be the two words. It was that time, that one that he insisted on giving me a hickey even though I was too shy to say yes. In my ear he had whispered, "I promise I won't bite you. It won't hurt." Then he kissed my temple and when he spoke again his lips brushed over my ear. "I could never dream of hurting the best thing in my life."

That hickey was photographed. You were always that type of person. You needed photographs to remind you, to refresh your memory. I guess you just needed that certain proof to show how much you cared or maybe it was to remember.

He never told me. It was his best-kept secret. (Boxes among boxes stacked in his attic.) And now they were good for nothing more besides collecting dust. They were just a pile of the forgotten, and of all the times that were too good to get rid of. But they still sat there, collecting dust. It was almost like he had gotten rid of the memories without doing anything.

I was stuck with those boxes and those hundreds of memories. When things hit a new low, I found myself pulling photo after photo out of that box. There was a time when I welcomed those memories, but all they did was depress me. I wished I hadn't known him.

He knew it would happen.

He knew that I became attached easily, and he took advantage of it.

The marks, those hickeys and bruises, were just faded remnants of what they once were, but the damage had been done.

I was at my best and so was he. Once we reached the high at the top of the peak, there was no way to go but down. And did we ever plummet, falling into the unknown with mountains of grace. Even that didn't make falling down any easier.

Now, I could make this obvious and, you, you could deny me all in one breath.

He never ever stopped, and I always let him know that. I spoke word after word, but he never heard anything that he didn't want to clear. Even if I made it obvious, he'd shoot me down. I'd be denied for access before I even reached the point. And I tried so damn hard that I lost the point.

Then again, he was never ever really there. Not physically and surely not mentally. His head was lodged up in high altitudes with the clouds and rain makers. He was more often than not drunk and high whenever he came running to me. Did he know how angry that made me?

I thought he wanted me.

I thought I was special.

And most of all, I thought he was different.

But if there was anything I had learned about him, it was was that drinking and getting high ranked much higher than I did. There was a time, when our relationship was still premature, that I didn't mind. But once our relationship grew, I couldn't understand why drinking until he couldn't speak and getting so stoned that he lost brain cells was more important to him.

He, on more than one occasional, had denied me of deserving anyone's affection other than his. I was the piece of property he held into the air and waved like a trophy. It was pitiful that I was reduced to being his trophy girlfriend, but I wanted to be more to someone than that.

Didn't he understand?

I was fed up with his meaningless affection, and I didn't want to be flaunted like the unattainable prize.

I was more than that.

You could shrug me off your shoulders.

I was his punching bag. When he got real mad, he got real mad at me. It wasn't my fault he was high string, but I never said a word. I never told him how much I just wanted for him to pretend that I wasn't there anymore. Being invisible was better than his cruel words.

Did he realize that I cried more nights than I slept?

I suppose he didn't know that I tried to shrug him way. And I suppose he never realized that it backfired. At least, not until he started pulling me into his dangerous world. He started to hit me up for money, and he expected me to always be there for you - regardless. I became the girlfriend to keep because I supplied his dirty habits.

But not anymore.

I had been a fool for his love for too damn long. I almost wished I would've realized what a loser he turned out to be before.

And I don't think that you know what you're been missing.
'Cause I don't think that you know what you've been missing.

He always gave me more credit than I deserved.

I always saw him running.

In fact, he was always in motion, trying to get ahead.

I think that, in the end, he realized what he was missing. That's why he came running after me, unable to stop. He was addicted to me like he was addicted to heroin. When it all boiled down, I was just something he needed to survive, and without it, he was only a goner.

He was clinging far too much.

Did he know that he made me feel used, like I was thrown out into the trash after he wa done with me?

In the end, he was always the one to leave.

And I don't think that you know,
Said I don't think that you know,
Said I don't think that you know what you've been missing.

I wanted my turn to leave a part of my life that had damaged me and stifled any creative I could have been capable of. And everyone knew that, when the chance came, I'd do it.

And I did.

Now, he go to be the one who's sad, who's missing me and wishing that I'd come running back when I'm needed most. I think, well I know, that he helped to show me what I've been missing. A part of my life was opened up to his style and your grace and movement.

Hey lush, have fun.
It's the weekend.
Hey lush, have fun.
Hey lush, have fun.
It's the weekend.
Hey lush, have fun.

Pretty soon, it was nearing the first week that I had left him behind. It was the weekend, Saturday, the day that I took my things and let him have fun by himself.

I hoped that he was having fun getting so screwed up that the lines between right and wrong blurred, and, soon, it all seemed right. I was hoping he was in town at a bar, miserable over how stupid he had been.

Oh, he knew he was a lush. Sometimes it took more than words. Sometimes it required actions to show him what someone means to him.

I hope he saw it now. After all, wasn't it better?

(Oh, I don't think that you know what you've been missing.
No, I don't think that you know what you've been missing.)

In the bar, I could see him sitting on a bar stool, eyeing up a slutty girl who's so sloshed that he looked like the greatest thing since Jenny Craig. He'd walk up to her, and his voice would slur, and she'd giggle and wrap her arms around his.

He sure as hell didn't seem to be missing me very much then. Somehow, I think he realized that he missed being a player. Oh, I sure as hell tried to change him, but he wasn't 'relationship' material. With his habit supported, why bother with getting love from one when he could get love from many?

Maybe I was too stupid, but it didn't matter. (Actually, I knew I was stupid.)

He didn't matter anymore. He was just a stupid drunk, who preferred to get high and sleep around with as many women as he could. Perhaps, I was just too damn stubborn to believe that he could change, that it was only mind over matter. (Hell, I knew that the first time we met...he couldn't be changed.)

He was even more diluted than I was; he believed that what he was doing was right. He wasn't any better than I was, he he knew how sad that was.

Just forget me.
It's that simple.

Somehow, he believed that getting so fucked up would make him forget me easier. I suppose it helped to make him think I was never really there, that I was simply a figment of his overactive imagination.

If that were the case, I'd hope he'd just forget me. I wanted him to stop chasing after me, for him to stop trying to explain himselfand why he stayed so 'clutched' to me. He was afraid he'd slip into his old ways. There was no doubt about it.

Maybe that's the best he could do.

Who was I to criticize him anyway?

And who knew that it'd be so simple for him to forget me, to forget everything that I've ever done for him. After all, all those photographs he left behind so, cryptically, were to remind me of what I was missing. (And what I used to have...or what I could have had at best.)

His plan was to leave me with all the memories and pain.

How ironic.

In the end, he really did leave me first.

He left me in the ruins of my own disaster.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Is it a hit or a miss? Let me know what you think. It might be a continued story or a collection of TBS based one-shots. Scratch that. It won't be a collection. All one-shots are being posted separately, that is, if i ever write another TBS one.

Faded Soulfire