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“I can’t do this.”

I say with so much conviction that the air around us seems to thicken. You look up at me from where you sit between the chairs. Your arms are scarred, your cheeks sunken, your lips drawn back to reveal yellowed teeth. I barely recognise you. I barely recognise myself the reflection flickering in the window behind you; this boy with bags under his eyes and shoulders slumped so low it’s a miracle he is still standing straight. You struggle to your feet and come towards me. I start to back away. You stop, puzzled.

“I’m leaving you.”

You laugh. “Where will you go?”

“Anywhere but here.” I say.

“You’ve forgotten what a fuck up you are. Everyone’s abandoned you, everyone but me.” You say, waving your scarred arms. “Go! And don’t come back.”

I want to call your bluff. I really do. My feet are ready to cross the threshold and never return. But my eyes, they follow you as you return to your nest, slide your hands between the chairs and retrieve a small bag. They widen with anticipation as you open it and take out a two vials and a syringe. When you fill the syringe, longing fills my chest and my heart speeds up. When you drive the needle into the back of your hand because the veins in your elbow have scabbed over, I feel the pain my insides knot with anticipation. I am screaming in my head as my body gravitates towards you even before you tilt your head back and smile; my hand is already reaching before you extend the syringe.

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