San Francisco, California

O

I could be halfway towards LA or Vegas by now. I could be tearing it through a canyon in Yosemite. Instead, it’s midnight and I’m sat on my bike in front of O’s apartment with the engine rattling beneath me. I’m about to walk through that front door and kiss her and pick her up and yet somehow I will feel lonelier than if I was by myself.

What the fuck am I doing?

Sure, yes, okay. I know this isn’t love. But I’m confused because I feel all the intensity that comes with falling in love; that sixth sense of being in just the right room at just the right time, that feeling of each joke click-clacking together like they do in sitcoms.

I have no idea what this is but it certainly is not love. This is the relationship equivalent of getting high; an intellectual dead end.

I know that when I hop off my bike and walk through that door I’m going to be disappointed because I will always want more than I can have; kindness and mutual respect. But she will never feel the same, despite everything appearing to snap together in that love-at-first-sight sort of way.

As time passes though I discover that I’m not in love with her and I never really was. She is...a bad person. Toxic, even. The personification of the giant ride hailing service that she works for. Kindness is not the priority, only pure, raw efficiency. Yet I find myself thinking a lot about what I miss and after weeks of not seeing her now I realize that what I miss is me; within ten feet of O I was invincible. I could rob a bank with a smile and a ballpoint pen.

In this way I sort of tricked myself. I let my own confidence and charm get the best of me and became so blinded to all the signs of a relationship gone toxic.

But now, I guess, I know this isn’t love.