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I am Jack's inflammed sense of rejection.

 

It happened with you just as it happens with every other woman I meet. you took me for a wild ride, a literal emotional rollercoaster, and stopped painfully short at the finish. Unfortunately for me, I once again ignored good advice and neglected to fasten my safety belt.

These things happen so fast, it's only been a week since this most recent chapter in my doomed love life started to unfold.

I felt everything that I've felt before, the infatuation, the lust, the sappy, faux emotional connection. In my mind, these feelings have always been. My misfiring brain tells me that you're undoubtedly the one, that you have been since the beginning. It becomes instantly clear, I was just too blind to see it before. My heart races, my pupils dialate. This is better than any drug I can come across on the wet, grey streets of our little slice of small town America.

At the surging peak of the endorphin-driven wave, when dry, beautiful shore is clearly visible, I begin to lose my grip on my surroundings.

"Wow, I didn't expect this," you say.

I can feel myself falling, slipping off of my perfect perch and into the icy deep.

"I really value our friendship."

I'm flailing now, desperately grasping at the thin air where your hand should be.

"We would never work, you know that."

Ladies and gentlemen, we have just lost cabin pressure. Remain calm, although the bag does not inflate, oxygen still flows through the mask. Please brace yourselves in the emergency landing position, noting the emergency exits nearest your seat.

 

I am Jack's raging bile duct.

 

I'm now lying facedown in the surf, mere feet from pristine shores. You frown on the beach, observing my hypothermic carcass and, I suppose, feeling a little remorse. You're a nice person, after all, and it's such a shame.

I'm not bitter, I don't have it in me to be bitter. No, I'm just a shambling shell of the man I once was. When I pass you in the hall, when you smile at me and I try to smile back, my chest hurts. I feel like my lungs are caving in, like I'm gasping to draw breath in the cold vacuum of my own emotion.

There is, however, a tiny sliver of hope left in my depressed, broken body. It's the very essence of our being, the spark that kept cavemen hunting and drying pelts after enormous reptiles tore their families limb from limb.

This tiny spark of human indestructability is what keeps me going. When I see your face, a tiny spike of adrenaline keeps my heart pumping hard, I feel sweat forming on my palms. My chest aches and my voice yearns to speak, yet no sound escapes my tightly pursed lips. It's the very basis of human response, the tendency to keep believing, even when it seems everything you'd ever hoped for has come crashing down around you.

That's why I'm here.

I'll keep talking to you, I'll keep the friendship you so valued alive. I'll continue to be there for you, to be ready to leap to your aid when life deals you wrongs. I'll be the one who sends you flowers, the one on the lawn with the stereo. This is me on my last legs, a dying breath devoted solely to you. I'm standing at the end, but my faith has never been greater.

I'll be here.

I'll be waiting

 

I am Jack's last stand.

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