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Opening up to Claire



My therapist thinks I should open up to Claire.

"I want to be honest with you," I started.

"That's good," Claire whispered, adjusting herself.

"I hate the way you giggle. Can't stand it. I can tell it's fake and it makes me angry. I want you to stop."

I went up for air, taking a peek at her above me. Her eyes were half-closed, focused. l looked back down. God, it was tiring, opening up to Claire like this, letter by letter. I took one last breath, then dove back in.

"Also, I can tell when you're not listening to me. You can say mhmm and yeah all you want. I can still fucking tell."

Claire pressed her hand against my head, pushing me deeper. "Right there, babe."

"And a lot of the time it feels like you don't even like me. It feels more like you tolerate me. Just because of how much you don't want to be alone. It feels like I could be anybody, actually. As long as I'm warm and dicked and have a Netflix password."

I stopped again, peering back up at her. Her eyes had closed the rest of the way. Her breaths had turned to flutters.

"That isn't to say I don't love you," I continued. "I do love you. I just don't like you very much. Wait. Sorry. I didn't mean that. Or maybe I did. I don't know. God I hate myself. I don't want to feel that way ever. It's just, I don't know, I can't help it sometimes. Maybe that's normal?"

My neck was starting to throb. I adjusted my position.

"No. I know it's not normal. But it's my parents' fault. Look, I was raised by two people who hated each other, but stayed together, and it taught me to spike my love with a silent, internalized hate. I can't help it. I mean, I can't think of one relationship I've ever had, in my whole life, and I don't mean just romantic ones, where I didn't, deep down, hold some kind of quiet hostility toward the other person. I might be a sociopath, actually, now that I think about it. Either that or an asshole. I really don't like hating myself like this, Claire. But I think if we stay together then I'll keep hating myself like this. So I think we should break up."

That did it. Claire started convulsing somewhere near the beginning of the last string of letters and finished somewhere near the end.

As her breaths began to slow, I crawled out from between her thighs and made my way up her chest, resting my head against her shoulder.

Wow. My therapist was right. I felt so much better now, having opened up to Claire.

"What are you thinking about?" She asked, running her hand through my hair.

"Nothing," I said.

This story was written by Daniel Waters, who is 26 and lives in Portland, Oregon. He sometimes tweets (@DWwrites) but plans to see a doctor about it soon.
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