“I have never loved,” my abuser explained to me in a moment of pure confession. He needed me to get him away from his family who was monitoring him after he had been involuntarily placed in a mental ward. The details about all this continue to allude me. I let it go because I never will know the truth about it.

But that night, over his wine, he finally told me what I had long suspected.

“I have never loved.”

Was it real? Or was it just another lie?

I can never be entirely sure because lying came to him as freely as breathing, and I can only see that now.

It felt real. It felt real in a way it hadn’t before. He said it openly and honestly, and each word felt like an epiphany as he said it– like he was only now seeing himself as it was revealed.

I have never loved.

He told me how he realized he was different in the mental ward. He realized how everyone there seemed to be filled with regrets over what they had done. So many of them talked about how sorry they felt for hurting other people and how much they wanted to make amends.

“I never felt that,” he said. “I never thought about how my behaviors affected others. I never even considered it.”

The interesting part of that night was how his face fluctuated. I watched as Hyde would talk then Jekyll. He would flit between these two versions of himself. When Jekyll spoke he was reflective and afraid. He didn’t want to be Hyde, but when Hyde spoke, he was manipulative and haughty. He discredited everything Jekyll said and projected everything he was talking about on to me.

I made love to Jekyll that night, and it was like making love to a completely different person. There was a brief moment when I saw under the mask that guarded the mask. I pushed past the void and touched briefly who he could have been. Or maybe who he was in another life.

The sex had been consensual. The sex had been mutual. I had finally felt safe. I had finally felt pleasure.

Afterwards, he rolled away and looked embarrassed. Hyde yawned and shifted his gaze. “I usually don’t cum that quick. Must have lost my stamina in the ward.”

He kept his back to me the rest of the night.

Hyde tried to kill me two weeks later. He wrapped a cord around my throat and dragged me to the stairs to make it look like an accident. I only saw Jekyll a few more times before he was buried again. He reached out to me briefly, almost as a farewell when he found tears streaming down my face.

“You’re crying,” he commented.

“Yes.” I rarely did.

“You’re crying because of me.”

“Yes,” I said surprised. He never spoke like that.

“You’re crying because you know I’m going to fail you.”

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say. He never spoke like that, and he never did again.

I still think back on that night of love making. I think back on those strange, dark confessions. I wonder if it was just another con. Was he just manipulating me to get back into our house and hide from his family? He would have said or done anything to get what he wanted. I know that now, but still……

Could it have been real?

Jekyll held such fear in his eyes over what he was. Jekyll looked at me with such convincing regret and self-awareness.

Or was it just another lie?

Hyde accused me of manipulating him to say those words. Hyde told me I was controlling him. Hyde grabbed my hair and forced me under him again this time without consent. Hyde said it was all my fault Jekyll was dead.

Regardless of the truth, I believed Hyde’s words for a long time. Sometimes parts of me still will even as I trace the scars and recall the bruises. I still believe that it’s my fault Jekyll couldn’t be saved, and it’s my fault I’ll never see him again.

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