Every time I've been happy in the past several weeks I've blacked out. I couldn't remember a second of it until it was gone, and there's nothing to show for it but the ache of the muscles in my face from smiling, the vague memory of laughter, the glint in the eyes of others.

But I'm not the sort of man who would live in ignorance in exchange for happiness. Once I figured it out, once I was sure of the cause, I decided to stop being happy. It was hard--it took alienating my love, at least for now, avoiding the things that I enjoy doing. But what am I if I don't have my memories? Was I ever even conscious if I don't remember what I did?

It has been--will continue to be--problematic. Isolation doesn't work. I can amuse myself with my own thoughts, and the temptation to find something to pass the time is too great when I bore myself. So I pick fights, I encourage the worst in my love. It's so depressingly easy to do with someone who trusts you. And that even worked for a while. The guilt, the anger, the depression--who could smile like that?

But first I learned to ignore it, to laugh in spite of myself, and I'd black out again--and it was like all my work was wasted. It kept her faith in me alive, which made it even easier to manipulate, to make her make me angry.

Then I came to enjoy it. The pain I caused, the pain she caused me--I liked it. I wanted it to continue. And I didn't know how to stop that, and more and more of my time I'd find had utterly slipped my mind. I was conscious of less and less.

When she left I thought maybe I'd regain control, but that wasn't true, either. In my forced isolation days would go by when I would remember nothing at all--wallowing in my own misery, my fantasies getting away with me. Nothing to mark the passage of time but the growth of spiderwebs in my closet. And then one day I started dusting those, and I even lost track of that.

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