By Claudia Bellocq
Art & Photos © Stefanie Vega
You kept the thing secreted about your person at all times. Its silent beating heart sustained you. It reassured you and in fact, there was some suspicion on my part that it kept you standing upright. Kind of like a sellotape maze of unfathomable significance. One night, I realised this. I saw the thing and wept. You did not witness my tears. They fell silent on the inside of me.
This being, it had its own small ego which had such an enormous amount of control over you that you feared, if it left you, you would collapse. When I saw it, I too feared that you would not know how to exist without it.
It entered into every aspect of our relationship. It had a perverse tendency to announce itself in the middle of sex. Almost inevitably at one moment or another I would realise that there were more than two of us in the bed. I grew weary of making room for it, but only when I recognised that I may have to. Until that moment, it had lain dormant, waiting for its time. I had fully embraced our sex. I had celebrated our fucking with an unrivalled freedom. I had celebrated our physicality like nothing that had come before until that small being decided to show me its power over you. Then, I looked it in the eye, and in a fleeting moment I knew that it had you; for the time being at least. Would you survive without it? Would it turn to dust and watch you fall alongside it if you tried to amputate it from your person? Did it live in your physical being, your mental one or your spiritual, or was it, as I began to fear, all encompassing?
I was shocked the first moment I recognised your nakedness without it. I had thought until then, that you were attached but not dependent. Were you dependent? Did it define you this thing? Did you worry that without it, you would cease to exist or to function? That’s what I worried about after that pivotal moment. I could not find a way in from then. Until then, I had mistaken the place I had in your life for a deep and intimate coupling and of course whilst I knew this to be true, I also realised, right there, right then, that there would perhaps always be three of us.
I did not underestimate the place in your life this little taped up creature held, but I knew that I could not compete with it. Mostly, until then I had thought I could just let it be. Then, in one tiny fleeting instant, I saw you stripped of everything; bare, vulnerable, fearful, guilty, lost, attached, held, perhaps stuck? I did not know how to confront this new realisation. It threatened to weaken me, to reduce me, to build up walls made of iron and thorns once again. I could feel them pushing to surround me once more. It was so familiar my fortress; I loved it and despised it in equal measure.
How can a whore compete with a holy ghost? How can a junkie vie for your love alongside a fallen angel? I don’t know how to fight this one. My sword has become dull, its blade tarnished by a year or more of slowly unravelling my wounds and forgetting to polish my weapons whilst I was busy gazing into your deep brown eyes.
It has a remarkable strength this creature. Its heartbeat has found a way to beat in rhythm with your own, offering it some kind of independent life whilst making yours a co-dependent one. It needs you, you need it.
It is strong…. perhaps even stronger than me?