The Placebo Effect


“I want to forget you.”
He stopped in his track. His posture was rigid. Slowly, dangerously, he turned to face me.
“Come again?”
“I want to forget you.” This time it was only a whisper. I dared not looking into his eyes.
“F– you.” He cursed.
I let out a wistful laugh. “Why? Do you now hate me because I want to forget you? This is not easy, you know. It’s not easy to love you and hate myself for it. You are supposed to make me love myself, not the other way around.”
He looked at me angrily, and I was at a loss of words. He strode towards me and gripped my shoulder, forcing me to look at him.
“You want me to make you forget? You can never forget me. You can never forget me after what we had all this time. You can never forget me while I am the one who can make you feel like this life is bearable to go through. You can never forget me while I am the one who create the memories with you. You can never forget me while without me, no one will hold you into sleep when you have those lonely nights.”
I cursed back at him. “Don’t you dare.” I gritted my teeth. “Don’t you dare mention those things to me when you have nothing to lose. You and your pride. Do you really think that my love for you will hold me back from leaving you?”
He stared at me for a long time.
“Yes,” he finally said.
“What?”
“Yes, I do hope that your love for me will hold you back from leaving me.”
I didn’t expect that coming from his mouth. “But, I thought –”
He silenced me by kissing me – a kiss of vulnerability, gentle and – what? Was there some kind of affection I sensed?
After a moment, he lifted his head.
“I don’t want you to leave.” He murmured, tracing my lips with his fingers. “I don’t want you to forget me. I don’t want to forget you.”
I closed my eyes. “Why?” I croaked. My voice seemed lonely in the emptiness of the dark room.
“You are… you are my placebo – did you know that?” He said desperately.
I could only stare at him in silence. Did he mean that I was merely a fake thing for him? Or was I something lesser than the real “medication”?
He sat down in front of me, holding my face with both of his warm hands. “You are my placebo.” He repeated.
“Did you know what they call the placebo effect?” I nodded, didn’t know where this conversation was leading to.
“The placebo effect – it cures the sick despite its lack of active chemical substances. It heals you from the inside, because your mind believes in it. When you’ve developed a positive placebo effect, you won’t need any medication, because somehow the bullshit thing has made you heal yourself.”
A smile started to appear on the corner of my lips. “So are you saying I am the bullshit thing?”
“Damn, I didn’t mean it like that. What I mean is – oh crap – let’s just say I don’t need anything else when I have you, okay? You are all the things I want and all the things I need, and I won’t give you up that easy.”
I stared at him in awe. That was so not him. Had the situation any different, I would have burst out with laughter.
He seemed to sense my amusement, because later he grumbled, “I am not a word smith and you know that. You cannot expect me to sugar coat every words I have and present it on a golden plate for you.” I snorted.
“Don’t laugh.” He warned. I giggled and pecked the tip of his nose.
“I love you,” I told him that.
He looked at me sheepishly. “I am sorry for being rude towards you back then.”
“I forgive you.”
“Why?”
“Because I love you. Love can always be the reason for any stupidity – no one will laugh at you for that.” I smiled. Indeed; you couldn’t blame anyone for love. Love worked like the placebo effect – no one knew why and how, but nobody complained; hell, everybody even wished it would happen more often.
I continued, “I have never truly loved you until I learned to hate you. You know why? Because when I hate you so much and there comes a thought to stop loving you, I then realized how little the hatred I have towards you compared to the love I have for you. And all of the sudden, it doesn’t matter anymore. Just because I love you that much, all the hatred become unimportant and small and pointless.” I paused. “That’s how I know that no matter what life will bring us, I will always love you enough not to leave.”
His face softened and his eyes shone with something – warmth?
“Do you always have to do that?”
“Do what?”
“Make me feel like a loser with your words.”
I laughed. “Did I make you feel that way?”
He tilted his beautiful face, pretended to consider my question. “Sometimes – yes.”
“Well, someone has to be the smart tongue, and you are clearly under-qualified, aren’t you?” I teased him.
He joined me in laughter, and buried his nose in my hair, inhaled my scent.
“Don’t ever leave me,” he pleaded.
“I won’t,” I replied, playing with his hair. “I am your placebo; I won’t have the heart to neglect you.” I felt him smiled.
“You are my sweet placebo – well, that’s not a cute endearment.” He frowned.
“And I love you like the placebo effect.” I tiptoed to kiss him, silencing him.

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