Act I Heart of Darkness·Heroine's Journey·Illumination

Give Me Space

29 minute read

“Give Me Space”

Antonique-Inspired

“Honestly, I don’t ever want to feel that again, but most times that ‘never wanting to feel it again’ is what makes you push it away.” -Antonique Smith

Fiction. Based on a True Breakup

by Mingjie “MJ” Zhai

“Please Do Not Text Me for the Rest of the Night”

Angelie got the text from Oliver, “I am asking the nicest way possible, please do not text me for the rest of the night.” This was the start of the downward spiral. They had done so well the past three weeks of going steady….cooking with each other, long cuddling sessions, walking to the beach, yoga, and a few days after he had made the declaration to go exclusive with her, she drove to San Diego to a nightclub and made out with another guy, and had the audacity to confess to him, disguised as a “Fiction, Based on a True Dinner Date” article to show off what a gonzo journalist who writes in the third person would write about if she were, let’s say, in a music festival writing for The Love Story’s Adventure blog.

That night in San Diego, she had pissed off her friend too because while she was making out with the cute guy, her friend felt completely neglected. Her friend, who was buying her drinks and treating her out to dinner, had never been to a club before so instead of just being with her, Angelie was showing off how catching a fish is done at the club.

Stella Rosa

Her best friend, Linda, had a heart to heart talk with her on the phone while she was drinking her eighth glass of wine, determined to polish off the entire bottle of Stella Rosa. The wine was deep red and perfume sweet.

“Angelie, you pushed away everybody that you cared about. It’s been five years already. Don’t you think it’s time to forgive?” Linda said.

“I wish it were that easy. If I knew how to forgive, I would have done it already,” Angelie said.

The wine was too sweet, but it gave her enough sweetness to cry bitterly and unapologetically in front of Linda, the best friend she had pushed away a two years ago. She hadn’t spoken to her friend after her first suicide attempt. Her friend was the one who called the cops that saved her life and was the first to see her at the hospital. Linda  already had her second child, Dean, and Angelie already had her second and third suicide attempts.

“I called to apologize for my behavior. I couldn’t handle seeing you move on with your family life, while mine was rotting away. I was so angry at him, Linda. I loved him so much. He hurt me so bad,” Angelie said. Tears gushed out. It was the first time she had truly admitted how much her heart was broken. She wailed and cried like a baby in front of Linda. The pain was guttural.

Linda held her pain. She stayed silent on the other end and just listened.

Baby Shower

They both had been best friends and had couple dated for the past 5 years. Linda and her husband, Thompson, were the witnesses to Angelie’s marriage to Jon, and they were both there on the night Jon walked out on her.

She saw how sad Angelie’s eyes were above the half feigned smiles she made whenever she said, “I feel great” to a “how are you” question. But it was all formality so when Angelie came to Daniel and Vanessa’s baby shower, Linda knew that Angelie was lying about how her life was great while feeling completely uncomfortable there. But they both pretended everything was fine because Linda wanted to help her friend still feel included in the married group, and Angelie pretended that her help was helping. They invited her to make her feel like part of the group, but truthfully, Angelie was awkward and out of place—like a cat in a dog’s poker game.  

Angelie would bring a different guy to a different occasion—like a different outfit to show off to her married friends. It became a funny punchline at these intimate gatherings with their families. It’s auntie Angie with her different “friends” again. She was either a player or an unstable whore, depending on who was secretly evaluating her and in what mood they were in at the time, though on the surface level, everybody was very nice and courteous to her.

Though it was awkward, it didn’t offend anybody enough to stop inviting her to their family parties. Thus, it was at Daniel and Vanessa’s baby shower that Angelie’s subconscious manifested a plan to cut ties. She first got drunk. Then, while Linda was sitting next to her,

Angelie said sarcastically, “This is hilarious.”

“What’s hilarious?” Linda asked.

“This scene. This. The balloons, the sappy congrats cards, the gifts, cake, all of it,” she said.

“See all these couples in this party? Statistics show that about 50% of marriages end in divorce. It’s just a hilarious scene because half the people here will wind up divorced anyway, so the pictures I’m taking will just later be a sad reminder of what once was,” Angelie said.

She had broken Linda’s heart that day. Linda thought she was referring to her marriage. That was the last party she was ever invited to from her married coupled clique. And sadly, Angelie felt relieved. Freed from the obligation to care.

Heartbreak

“You had pushed everybody away who loved you,” Linda said. Angelie knew that it was really just Linda who loved her this much, and this was her way of saying that Angelie had broken her heart and pushed her away.

She had deliberately gotten herself fired at work by telling the school psychiatrist that she wanted to hurt herself so they canceled her teaching contract for the following year. She drove up to San Francisco for an English Department Chair position, drove past the school on the day of her interview and kept driving till she ended up at Yellowstone National Park, and there, had sex with a stranger within ten minutes of introduction, and drove back to Los Angeles the following morning. She didn’t want to see or be around families and children.

She wanted to use and abuse men, though she never admitted it, but she really wanted to see how close she can get into a man’s heart before she can dispose of him. However, she never really got that far into a man’s heart because she never could quite get herself to care or even act like she cared. For most men, it was obvious that she was just cold and wanted nothing more than just a good time for a few nights or weeks. Any guy who would want to get close, she deliberately and coldly said and did things to push him away.

Push

He was pushing a stroller into their mutual CPA’s office when she saw him again, nine months since the night Jon left without an explanation. Their CPA didn’t know they were divorced so had booked both of them together. The mistress, turned wife and mother to his first born, followed after him. They had a beautiful baby girl. She was one years old.

Politics

She had crossed the line hours earlier when she walked out of his apartment after attempting to discuss anything deeper than what food they were eating, what bar they were drinking at, and their work life. It was politics—she believed that the New Liberal World Order is out to control the masses by dumbing us down with mindless television, poisoned food, and pharmaceutical “medication” so we could shrink into a garden state of compliance, and he just wanted her to laugh at the SNL bit of Rich Man’s crude “Pussy” comment he made 10 years ago. So she began comparing Rich Man’s crude “Pussy” comments with Kill Bill’s savvy ability as public defender to help a pedophile get off on criminal charges for raping a 12-year old girl, he had his ears covered and his eyes closed. In that moment, he looked like the poster child of the “liberal” ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ programming. In that moment, she hated him. Hated him for being so superficial and petty. Hated him for his lack of discernment. And realized how much she hated herself for falling for a guy like her ex-husband again—the complacent, compliant, hard-working guy—so polite, so charming, and so full of pretension.

It was a double edged sword. He provided comfort and security, but she knew that this was not what she wanted, and that it would be a short-lived illusion, a distraction from her higher purpose.

She walked away because she knew she couldn’t be with a man who could only provide comfort and security. He didn’t want her depth and intensity except in bed. He just wanted a woman who could be there to smoke, drink, and eat with and who can listen to light talk—especially about his bygone days when things were much more exciting and he was a lot more wanted by women. He was an ambitious man. A proud man. A white man. He knew he had privileges and hated them all at the same time. What drew her to him was her outgoing personality, wit and charm. He loved her smartness, and the first thing he said when he picked her up on their first date was how his mother was a head nurse, a healer, who took charge. She heard herself in his pride for his mother. He wanted a woman who was strong and smart, but couldn’t handle the crazy that came along with it.

Crazy

She walked.

She walked because she knew he could never accept her for who she really is.

She walked because she knew that the person who she chose to become couldn’t accept a guy who was just comfortable and complacent with what he had.

The world is rapidly changing, and people are rapidly having to choose sides. He chose to not look at the problem—he choose to be deaf and to be dumb.

The same way Jon chose to be deaf to her cries and dumb to his crimes.

Victim shaming.

The same way the pedophile got away with raping a 12-year old girl.

Victim shaming.

The same way the American people can’t see that we are allowing the global elite to keep programming us with sex, violence, and a false sense of entitlement and choice so we are numb and dumb to the weak, homeless, and poor.

Victim shaming.

She’s crazy because she sees all this and cries. She doesn’t just cry. She wails in pain.

Pain for the 12 year old girl who had to sit in court, face her rapist, and be told that she was making things up.

Pain for the wife, who experienced long nights that stretched into early mornings with severe panic attacks, waiting for her husband in an empty bed, knowing he was touching another woman, only to be told by him that she was crazy and insecure.

Pain for the citizens who are awake, who know what is already going on, and cries and cries to family, friends, the public, only to be shunned as a conspiracist, an enemy of the state, a terrorist.

She cries because of the lies.

Cry

A few days later, she called him and started crying on the voicemail. She had missed the early morning train ride by 20 minutes and didn’t want to pay the extra $30. But it was more than that. It was her brain chemistry—the world is upside down. She was thinking about why so many people are hungry and she’s not, why so many people are doing the same thing for 10 hours a day everyday just to eat, and she’s not. Then she hates herself for being so weak for getting upset over having to pay an extra $30 because she missed the train by 15 minutes. It was the traffic. Blame it on traffic.  

She cried hysterically in the car. She cried hysterically because she knew that should he see her like this, she would really push him away. She knew it would. And that would only solidify what she already knew, but didn’t want to talk about because if she talked about it, she knew it would end. It was this: He was a liberal who means well, but when push comes the shove, has no backbone. He won’t be able to hold her pain in what she sees, in what she knows, because she’s well, not compliant, not complacent, and not happy with being secure, because she saw how he just walks past the homeless kids on the streets of Richmont Shore. They hold up a sign saying they are hungry, and he looks at them point blank in the face and says to them, “You’re lying,” and walks off. His soul lacks depth because he snorts coke to numb the pain, because somewhere deep down, he knows that he should be saying, “How can I help?”

He wouldn’t be able to love the fullness of her being. He chose to be a one-sided character when who he really was would be contrary. She rages. Her fire. Her brilliance. It burns. It’s too intense for the way he lives his life at the moment, and it broke her heart knowing this. But she couldn’t continue the charade.

So she called him at 6 in the morning. No answer. “Hi, you’ve received Oliver at Tom’s Recycle, leave a message.”

“Hi Oliver, it’s me. I just missed my train to San Francisco. I’m so sad. I don’t know why the world is—-“

“To send, press 1, to listen to your message, press 2, to delete…” his voicemail inbox had cut her off, as if to say…”Stop, you’re making a fool of yourself. If you would like to continue pushing him away, press 1”  

She was so depressed. It was debilitating. She knew she had to pee, eat, something, but she couldn’t move. She’s in some commercial lot crying after driving aimlessly for a few minutes after she missed her train. Thoughts of suicide were even louder in her mind. Why am I still stuck in this matrix, God?

How to Live

She made the next train ride. A few hours later, a text came in, “I need you to give me some space. Religion, politics, and now you’re telling me how to live.”

That’s right. He was drunk the night before because the Giants lost on a Tuesday evening. She had worried, so she texted him a few hours later to start taking care of himself and to start drinking more water.

“Now you’re telling me how to live.”

That’s right. She forgot that he was also an alcoholic. And alcoholics are master blamers and smart mouthed narcissists. It takes one to know one.

They had been dating for 3 weeks. Every week, they bonded over food, music, alcohol and sex. It was about dumbing down, compliance, and just being “happy” in the moment. He would open doors for her, pay the bar tab, cook for her, and prepare the picnic for their beach excursions. He was fun, steady and gave the illusion of security. He woke up at 5:30 in the morning and drove to the same job five days a week. He smoked Camel Crush, two packs a day, sometimes combining it with weed. On the weekends, he liked drinking a twenty four pack of Coors, and snorts coke when he wants excitement.

Being around him meant a belly full of food and blood full of alcohol. But it was empty. Their conversations amounted to what they wanted to eat for dinner, what time they wanted to head to the beach, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, and the bygone days.

When he did talk, it was about his college days, his good college buddies, now all married with kids, and he did not want a family nor kids, and he made it very clear to her. She understood his reasons. He was in pain. Something happened. She nodded her head, and agreed with him. But subconsciously, she wanted kids. She thought several times how nice it would be to have a child with him—he would be a great sperm donor—6’2, athletic, smart, clean, and super considerate. They would make cute Eurasian babies.

But something was off about him. She was waiting for that ball to drop since their first date. She realized that with this guy, it was all laughs, jokes, and light talk. He did not like heavy topics. It was a good balance. At least she thought at first, but she feared that it was all they had. She almost had to hide her heavy side—her activist, serious side for her to get along with this guy.

House of Cards

I need you to give me space.

It triggered her abandonment issues when he said he needed space.

“Let’s just be friends. I think it’s healthier,” she initially wanted to be his friend anyway, but the sex made her emotionally attached to him. Then she thought about all the people not wanting to be around her because she was pushy and it pushes people away. This time, she’d rather make the final push, since it was headed in that direction anyway.

“On second thought. Let’s just be acquaintances. Friends talk about religion, politics and care for each other’s welfare. Acquaintances don’t.”

For the next few days, there was a push and pull within her to make amends because she did miss the sex, food, and alcohol. Whenever she would feel insecure about herself, thoughts about sitting on his patio, smoking and drinking, while having small talk, eating good food and then making love, would draw her in, but she knew that this foundation they had built–food, sex, alcohol, was not solid.

He requested space, but something told her that if she did give him the space, they would actually have a chance to be together again, so she texted him a few days later, telling him that she can’t be his girlfriend.

A day later she had called the guy in San Diego she made out with and the day after, she had phone sex with a different guy. Back on that train ride. And if she got too close to either of them, she would push them away too.

This is the space she gives to people who request it. In that space, she had filled it with variety, adventure, colors, she had filled it with food, alcohol, sex, she had filled it with writing, interviews, and a company.

It would be 5 years since that day Oliver had walked away, and if it were true that the amount of time it would take to get over someone is the same amount of time the relationship lasted, then she can justify two more years of giving, creating, and filling that space–that empty space.

Empty Space

In that empty space, she attempts to fill with colors, adventure, sex, but she knows deep down that these are all distractions. The truth of the matter is that the empty space is designed to remain empty, laid bare so from that void, we may discover the truth. Underneath what is expressed on social media and created for social pretension was a hurt girl who had somehow created the illusion that she doesn’t deserve love.

So she keeps creating a reality where people want to leave her.

She becomes demanding, self-righteous, and aggravated so people can say,

“I need you to give me some space.”

“Please do not contact me again.”

Of course. Her inner child would say.

And from the depths of that empty space, another voice would say to her:

See? They don’t care about you. Nobody cares. You might as well leave.

Die. Just die. Nobody wants you.

Die, Die, Die.

The little girl cries.

The pain is sharp and cuts into a wound that has been already made deep.

She knows this is not true.

But the illusion feels so real.

Illusion tells her she is unworthy, so little girl reacts by demanding more attention, more love.

Illusion tells her she’s stupid, so little girl reacts by telling people how they should think, processing the thinking for them, to show how smart she really is.

Illusion tells her that she is weak and useless. You don’t think you actually make any real difference in this world do you? so little girl reacts by getting aggravated–angry at herself for feeling useless and angry at others for not changing after she made the effort.

Illusion pushes her buttons. She pushes other people’s buttons. They push her away.

She reacts. Illusion reinforces.

Space. Empty Space.

“I miss her,” Linda had told Anglie,”The girl who used to be playful. The girl who used to smile. The girl who was in love.”

“I miss her too.”

For the Hero’s Workshop

Journaling, Journalism, and the Personal Journey

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