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Better Man

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I know I’m probably better off on my own than loving a man who didn’t know what he had when he had it


Virgil glanced over his new apartment, checking to make sure everything was in the correct place. It had been years since he had lived on his own. He had been with Roman for so long that he forgot what being by himself was like.


“No, don’t think about him.” He mumbled to himself. “It’ll only make it harder.”


“Make what harder?’


Virgil jumped and whirled around, his heart beating wildly. He only saw Logan there and relaxed in relief.


“Nothing.” He shook his head.


“Well, alright. Are you doing okay?” Logan asked. “You know you can come talk to me about anything, right?”


He hated this. All of the kind words and gentle voices. He wasn’t fragile just because he recently got out of a relationship and he hated his friends acting like he was.


“I know.” He sighed. “I’m just…a little distracted, okay?”


“Okay. I think I’m gonna head out. You gonna be okay here by yourself?” Logan questioned.


“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” He knew Logan was only trying to be a good friend, but it still irritated him.


He said goodbye to him, watching his car drive out of the parking lot.


And I see the permanent damage you did to me, never again. I just wish I could forget when it was magic.


Virgil walked towards the bathroom, glancing in the mirror once there. He sighed at the small bruise beside his left eye. It wasn’t like it was big, but it still the end of a meaningful relationship, a relationship he’d thought would last forever. He had been naive.


It had been amazing at first. Roman was attentive at first, showering him with praises and compliments, taking him out on dates all the time. It had taken a while for it to turn sour. But, when it had, it was horrible.


I wish it wasn’t 4am, standing in the mirror, saying to myself “you know you had to do it.”


He was awake late at night again. It happened often. In the beginning of his relationship with Roman, he would coax Virgil into bed, sometimes singing to him on the nights he couldn’t sleep.


When the relationship got worse, that stopped. Once, Virgil had stayed out in the living room, watching Parks and Rec, waiting for Roman to come convince him to go to bed. He had stayed up the entire night. When Roman had come out of their bedroom in the morning, he had given him a dirty look and muttered,


“God, can you be even more of a mess?”


Virgil could swear he felt his heart break in that single moment.


He crawled out of bed, pulling himself out of those old, dark memories and walked over to the mirror.


“You had to do this, you know?” He tried to convince himself. “It was for the best.”


I know the bravest thing I ever did was run.


“This was the right thing to do.”


Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again. But I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man.


He could practically feel Roman’s arms around his waist, could see him placing his head on his shoulder and smiling that wonderful smile at him.


“You look beautiful.” The imaginary Roman said.


“Thank you.” Virgil said softly. “If only you were real. The real you’s a bit of a jerk.”


And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand. And I just miss you and I wish you were a better man.


It had taken him weeks to convince himself to leave. He had come up with so many lists of reasons, talked it over with Logan even. He wanted to believe it would get better, though. It never did. He wished Roman was a better, a nicer, man. He used to be. But he wasn’t anymore.


A better man


I know I’m probably better off on my own than loving a man who could change his mind at any given minute. And it’s always on your terms...


Virgil stood in their living room, waiting for Roman to get home. It was their weekly date night and he was already ten minutes late. He had never been late before. Even as Roman started getting angrier, he had, albeit begrudgingly, showed up on time and taken Virgil out to dinner. They may have sat in tense silence for most of the dinner, but it was the thought that counted, right?


He finally pulled out his phone and texted Roman five minutes later.


“Where are you? I thought it was Date Night??” He sent.


His phone buzzed a minute later.


“I’m out with the guys. God, can’t I do one small thing for myself without you getting pissed at me for it?” Roman had sent back.


“N-no, thats not what I meant. I just…” Virgil struggled to formulate a response.


“That’s okay. We’ll do it some other night.” He finally sent back.


They never did Date Night again.


I’m hanging on every careless word, hoping it might turn sweet again, like it was in the beginning.


They were fighting. They had been fighting more often lately. This time it was over Anxiety not helping out around the house.


“I have to do everything around here!” Roman shouted. “I’d just like a little help every once in a while!”


“But I do help!” Virgil argued. “I do the laundry and wash the dishes!”


“Yeah, right. It wouldn’t surprise me if you paid your friend to do your chores for you.” He scoffed. “As if you could get off your lazy ass to do anything, much less to do something right for a change.”


Virgil flinched. The words themselves hurt, but the tone they were said in hurt much worse. He could only stand there as Roman continued to berate him. When they eventually stopped and went to different rooms, he hoped Roman might come in to apologize and make up with him. He never did.


But your jealousy, I can hear it now. You’re talking down to me like I’ll always be around. You push my love away like its some kind of loaded gun. Boy, you never thought I’d run.


They were fighting again. But this time over something much different.


Roman was accusing Virgil of having sex with Logan.


“I never had sex with him!” He said, trying to convince Roman, to no avail.


“Okay, sure. So why were you hanging out with him then?” Roman shouted, throwing his hands up in the air.


“Because he’s my friend! You hang out with your friends all the time. What’s the difference?” He asked.


“Because, b-because…” He struggled to come up with a reason.


“Exactly.” Virgil turned around and started to walk away.


“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” Roman shouted at him.


“Maybe I’m leaving! Maybe I’m sick of this, of you!” He yelled back.


“Oh, no you’re not!” Roman ran over and closed the door that Virgil had just began to open, standing in front of it. “You will stay right here. It’s not like you would leave anyway. All of your stuff is here.”


“Ugh, open the door, Roman.” He snapped. “I can leave if I want to!”


He tried to push Roman out of the way, struggling to open the door. They wrestled for the door, a slightly sinister undertone to the way they used to wrestle each other as kids.


“Let! Go!” Roman yelled and pushed Virgil so hard he stumbled back and hit his head hard on the wall behind them.


“Ow!” Anxiety yelped.


Roman froze. He looked...sorry. It confused Virgil. He hadn’t been sorry when he had said those horrible words and made him break down in tears, so why was he sorry now?


“I-I need to go.” Roman said, dashing out of the house.


His heart longed to run after him, to comfort him, but he didn’t. It was better this way. He could get his things and leave quietly.


I wish you were a better man. I wonder what we would have become if you were a better man. We might still be in love if you were a better man. You could’ve been the one if you were a better man.

He shook himself out of the memories. He couldn’t get stuck in them, or he might run right back to Roman. Then there would have been no point in all of this, in his newfound freedom.


Virgil checked the time. It was almost 6am already and he needed to at least be up by noon or Logan might get worried.


He crawled into bed, stopping when he felt his arm hit a pile of fabric. He pulled it out and looked at it. He nearly cried.


It was Roman’s old sash. Back in high school, back when their relationship had been full of innocent pining, Roman had been cast as the Prince in Cinderella. He had worn that sash everywhere. Virgil had teased him relentlessly.


He wished that those days hadn’t ended so soon. He wished Roman was a better man. He wished life was fair.


But wishes were for dreamers and it was time to stop dreaming. It was time to finally stay awake and alert for once. Or at least, time to try to.