“You kill a killer then the number of killers remains the same.”
That was Batman, I think. It reminds me of the irony of hating someone so much that I became the very person I hated.
It began on a humid and rainy Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. Washing my clothes that day in the newly renovated Laundromat on my block turned into somewhat of a ceremony. As the machine cleansed my pillows of all the tears I’d cried over my ex, it felt like I’d started a new chapter. The washer clicked to the spin cycle. I silently vowed never to shed tears for him again, to never again soil my linens over that asswipe.
My small ritual was a simple gesture, but a powerful one. In that moment, something snapped. That night, on a whim, I hit up this nice guy who had been trying to get at me for the past few months, even though he knew I was in a relationship at the time. Our little fling launched what quickly spiraled into a three-month-long rampage of hookups and one-night stands.
Meaningless sex ignited an all-consuming flame. The more I had the more I craved. Toned bodies, thick bodies, big bodies, small bodies. Like a young vampire on the hunt for fresh blood, I couldn’t get enough. It got to the point where I was hooking up with up to three different guys a week, sometimes in three different boroughs. The best part about it was that there were no strings attached. No commitments, no arguments, and most of all, no expectations, except good sex. Switching guys as often as I discarded condoms, once I was done with one I was on to the next.
I was surprised at how efficient I’d become. The process of cutting guys off afterwards was almost mechanical. My emotions lodged deep beneath my skin, far out of reach of any lovesick individual. I was no heartbreaker; at least I didn’t deign to be. I warned every guy that I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Proceed with caution.
The delightful carnage hit a speed bump when I met Victor. Every now and then, despite the warning label engraved across my chest, some men caught feelings for me. Eventually, it would get so bad that I had to abruptly stop responding to their declarations of love, delivered in novel-length text messages.
Victor was one of those guys.
He was handsome, I must admit. I fucking loved running my hand through his curly fro, especially during sex. He was a solid 5’ 10’’ and you could tell he was a runner. I frequently hit him up for more, breaking my sacred one and done rule. One night, after we’d had sex, I was hungry so, without giving it much thought, I suggested we go grab tacos at the Mexican hole-in-the-wall a few blocks down from his place. Big mistake.
“So, where do you see this going?” he asked coyly after we ordered our food.
I gawked at him for a moment. Was this guy for real? Did he not read my disclaimer?
But the glint in his eyes, that twinkle you see in random Netflix rom-coms, confirmed he was indeed for real. I sighed, mentally running through the list of excuses of why we couldn’t be together. I didn’t feel like giving him the talk. When I looked at him, though, I felt something, as if someone were playing my heartstrings with the bow of a violin. Years of what could be flashed before my eyes. I saw us bickering over stupid shit like one of us watching our favorite show without the other, growing suspicious of infidelity and, most terrifying, nights crying alone on my pillow.
“I can’t,” I said, rising from the barstool. “I’ve got to go. You can have my burrito.”
“Wait,” he protested, following me out the door. “Can we at least talk about this?” Without looking back, I jogged down the street and into the subway station. On the ride home, I deleted our text history as well as his number.
While lying in bed, I thought about my ex. Over the course of the two-year relationship, I had nagged him incessantly, pointing out that he was too detached, utterly non-committal and emotionally unavailable. I kind of wanted to call him then just to say, “I get it.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I glanced at my reflection in the bedroom mirror. If this were a paranormal thriller, the ending would reveal that I had been possessed by the ghost of my evil ex all along. At least then I’d have a valid excuse for my cruelty towards Victor.
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
I remember that one from The Dark Knight. The film, not the graphic novel. Truth be told, I rather like being the villain. Playing one meant no more sleepless nights or tear-soaked pillows. That night, I slept like a baby.