For weeks, we’ve been trying to track him down. A sage told me that all my unhappiness, my failures in relationships, my dismal career, all of these things could be attributed to one man. I told my people to look for him and for weeks, they searched every corner in the city, looked under every rock in the country. I was about to give up when I received a call from my assistant that they finally located the bastard. He was being held at the safe house in Manila.
They led me through the poorly lit room where a man was sitting on a chair. Looking back, I’m not sure if they cuffed him or not. No matter the case, he wasn’t going anywhere. He was facing the wall. The sage told me that if I should ever find him, I must never look at his face. I sat down, took out my tape recorder and began my interview.
“How did you do it?” I asked. Outside, it sounded like it was starting to rain.
“Take my happiness. Sabotage my relationships. How did you do it?”
“It’s not that hard. You made it pretty easy for me.” The guard by the door stepped forward, like a hound ready to attack. I cleared my throat twice as he stepped back into the darkness.
“I would appreciate it if we figured this out as soon as possible. I don’t know about you but I’m a very busy man and personal attacks only take us farther away from the truth we seek tonight. If you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to business.”
“Alright. Be my guest.”
“All these years, I’ve tried hard to be happy only for you to take it away from me. Why did you do it?”
“You’re not asking the right questions,” he said. “Why I chose you is not important.”
“What’s in it for you? What could you possibly have to gain from my suffering?”
“Everything. Nothing. Does it matter?”
“Is someone paying you to do this? I can match their offer. Money is no object.”
“Money never is.”
“If it’s not money, then tell me. Why have you been doing this to me?”
“Because I can.”
“That’s not reason enough.”
“It is for me,” he replied. His voice was warm but strained. “What do you want to hear? Do you want me to say it made me happy? Do you want me to say that I enjoyed your suffering?”
“Of course not.”
“Then why? What could you possible have to gain?” I could no longer hide the frustration in my voice. Outside, the water made little drum beats on the roof. The air smelled of rain and wet concrete.
“Looks like the weather finally gave in,” he said. There was no fear in his voice, only a faint sense of familiarity. “You’ve been trapped in your own little world for too long. You’ve forgotten that people mostly do things for themselves and not for other people.”
“So you’re saying that you did all of these things because you wanted to. That it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with you.”
“Exactly,” he replied. In his voice, you could hear a wicked little smile.
“Fuck you,” I said, a little too forcefully for comfort. The guards all shuddered at my voice. “Why did you do it? What did I ever do to you?”
“Because you didn’t love me!” he shouted. “Because you wasted so much time on these fuckers who wouldn’t know love if it hit them in the eye! Because all this time, I was waiting for you to love me and you didn’t even know I was there.”
“Love you? Love you?! I don’t even know you!”
“Exactly,” he said as he swiveled his chair to face me. My first instinct was to look away, the sage’s warning ringing clear in my mind. I forgot that behind me was a mirror. There, in plain sight was the man who made a living of tormenting my waking life. I saw the man who sank all my relationships, who took away all the people I have ever loved simply because I didn’t love him.
It was me.
Photo Credit: interrogationroom6