The story I'm about to write will be different from the others because it won't talk about seropositivity, treatments, rejection...
Today I am going to write for you.
You came into my life a few weeks after I launched the blog. I had just updated my Tinder profile with my HIV status and put the link to the site. We hit it off and you immediately used this blog as a lever to reach me.
The first meeting was on my ten year anniversary with HIV. I was alone that night and you asked me for a drink. I said yes spontaneously. We didn't fall in love at first sight, but we had a long conversation on a terrace, both of us freezing, but the call of the cigarette was stronger.
You walked me to the door of the friend I was staying with. You kissed me, for a long time, and your taxi arrived. You said: "Come with me", and I refused. I wanted to take my time.
We saw each other again and again. Two days later you called me "love" and that's when I should have stopped seeing you. Who gives a nickname like that after 48 hours?
You told me about your ex JB who died of HIV-related illnesses, your teacher whom you had fallen in love with at the age of sixteen. A four-year affair, until he died. I admit, I found this story amazing but I had no reason not to believe you.
We started arguing, often, not understanding each other. You thought I was too judgmental and I didn't understand how you could want to explain everything. Your brain was definitely too complex for mine.
You told me about the fact that you had been diagnosed "precocious" as a child. You reminded me of this when I tried to joke that you might be autistic: "I'm not autistic, I'm smarter. It's scientific."
You wanted to take up a lot of space with regard to the blog, its visual identity, my writings, you wanted to control what I did with it supposedly because I had to make it a perfect showcase. You told me that I was lazy, approximate, bad at spelling (and I admit it), you humiliated me, you wanted to destroy me and I fought, I resisted you, I didn't let you do it.
You told me about your brother who had died when you were young, about your stepfather who had abused you from the age of seven to fourteen and who, on top of that, invited a friend of his. You told me about your mother's rejection when you told her what was going on, and how she did not support you. You told me that this stepfather died of an overdose in prison, and then he didn't, he died after he got out.
You told me about your coming out and the rejection of your father, your mother, your family. About how you hated your mother as much as you admired her.
I believed everything you told me.
You understood that if you wanted to possess me you had to create an addiction in me. You didn't have the intellectual upper hand because I wouldn't let you, and you understood that from the start. You used the only weakness I have to get me: my empathy.
You almost broke me. I was fascinated. Your intelligence, your logic, your ability to explain, justify, demonstrate everything. I am the opposite and I was in awe of that.
You seduced everyone around me with your charisma, your kindness, but that was only what was happening in public.
My instinct was beginning to titillate my reason.
On the first of the year you yelled at me for no reason and I stood up to you once again. You gave yourself a reprieve by breaking down in my arms in tears and using my weakness once again: "No one sent me a message to wish me a happy new year." I forgave, I wanted to understand, to help you, I tried to do so...
You lied to me, but you got away with it once again.
I went to Paris, to your house, and there I knew: "I am in danger.
I felt it and I didn't know how to explain it. I didn't know how to get out of it. I felt trapped by us, by you. Little by little you made me lose confidence in myself, you set up a very nice scenario where all of a sudden you became indispensable to my life, to the blog.
We argued again, hard, very hard. I refused your hold, I refused your help with the blog. You couldn't stand it. I took it upon myself to pretend that everything was fine and when I took my train home I felt an immense relief.
The next day I wrote you an email to say goodbye. I didn't want to explain the real reasons and just told you that I didn't love you. I knew that if I justified my running away, because it was a question of running away, you would have turned my brain upside down.
You said: "Is this a joke? I was afraid you'd show up in front of my house, that you'd take the train. That's what you planted in me, this fear, this paranoia.
I reinstalled Grindr and Tinder to move on faster, to help me turn a page.
Forty-eight hours later you sent me a beautiful message and I fell for it, well not totally. Anyone reading this message would think you were an extraordinary person of kindness. Your manipulation is strong and so ingenious.
In the meantime, I had gone through your Facebook wall because some of your stories seemed incoherent and I found elements that made me doubt their veracity.
I confronted you with these inconsistencies. You called me a monster, but you justified yourself, you didn't remember and then you did... You tried to understand what I doubted in order to prove to me that it was unfounded and I fell for it... You managed to make me doubt my logic. But you cynically congratulated me on my approach, telling me how impressed you were with my construction, or rather deconstruction, of your story.
I didn't have the proof to confirm my doubts. This proof I got a little later.
We met again and I asked you to accompany me to the hospital for my six-monthly tests, as if to give us another chance. Few words, few exchanges. Then we went to your house and talked. I knew I wanted to run away and I did the opposite.
You had once said to me: "If I am evil, why do you stay? Only a deranged person would want to stay with a malicious person"...
I didn't want to be that person, so it was easier for me to try to convince myself that you probably weren't being malicious, maybe a little too frank, a little clumsy.
You told me about an ex you called a narcissistic pervert, you told me about your manipulative mother.
The day before I left for Milan on a business trip, I was with you. I've never felt so strongly a lack of desire to be with someone. What was it that made me not want to stay away from you? This fascination? Not only that. Fear. Yes, absolutely. I was afraid of what you might do to me if I decided to leave. You had never been physically violent with me, but in your everyday behaviour I detected the potential.
That week in Milan, I answered your messages. I didn't know yet if the cup was already full or if I should give you a last chance. But I went online anyway, out of curiosity, out of boredom, out of weakness.
I came back to Paris and I had one night to spend there before going back home to Bordeaux. You wanted to see me and I said no, using something as an excuse. I wanted to leave you and I wanted to see you to do it, but I couldn't. I offered you a coffee just to see you. I offered you a coffee just before leaving the next day for the station. You came.
We sat down. It lasted half an hour, without a word. A call on my phone to break the silence and then I suggest we get some air. I ask you if you're okay and no answer. Now I understand, it's not okay. I am relieved. I have to dig. I can't leave you, you're going to hand me a pole and I thought, "Remi, grab it."
I asked you again if you wanted to talk to me and the floodgates opened. You gave me a demonstration of your madness that lasted almost thirty minutes, without any intervention from me.
"When you sent me the break-up email, I created six profiles with different identities to talk to you, I paid for the application. When we met again you didn't log in, and then bingo in Milan. I recreated six other profiles to reach you. I took screenshots of our exchanges on these apps and the messages we sent each other by text, you're sick. Only a liar could accuse me of being a liar, could even think about it. I advise you to delete your accounts on the apps because you won't know right from wrong now. If we hadn't met today, I was planning to come to Bordeaux this weekend and meet you with one of the fake profiles.".
I looked at my watch and said, "I don't have anything to say to you. I have to go."
Before I left, you smiled. You made my blood run cold.
I didn't want to justify my connections on the apps. I just took that opening to leave and never look back. However, you planted this bad seed in my head, suggesting that you could barge into my house whenever you wanted and especially observe me via fake profiles on the networks.
I told this story to my friend J. "File a complaint", she said, "this is harassment". She asked me if I had any way of finding one of her exes to see if you were dangerous. I thought that was going too far.
I had a name, found it on Facebook and sent her a note on Messenger. I apologised for my actions but I needed to know. The hold was still too strong and I needed to be sure I wasn't being paranoid. This ex answered me immediately and told me about the horror he had suffered for more than a year. The psychological violence, the physical violence. Our exchange lasted almost three hours. It's crazy because suddenly a stranger becomes your best friend, your lifeline in a split second. We had shared the same violence, only I was lucky enough to have experienced it over a much shorter period.
I got confirmation that everything you told me about yourself was wrong. The rapes, the dead ex, the dead brother, the parents, absolutely everything.
I was in a state of shock. How could you use these weapons to seduce me? To me it's unintelligible, it's beyond what my brain can accept. Why me? Why didn't I leave at the first sign? Why did I do this to myself when I could have left on the second day?
I went to file a complaint against you. This one is inadmissible. But you know that.
I wanted to stop you and I couldn't. I feel terrible. You're going to try to break someone again and I wish I could stop you.
You were very strong, smart. You used my blog as a weapon of possession because I give myself over to it. You picked my weaknesses to manipulate them and my strengths to deconstruct them. You invented yourself in such a way that I could only want to save you and help you, because that is unfortunately what I tend to want to do.
You told me, "I hope you never tell our story on the blog," assuming it would never end.
You were wrong.
I may not have your intelligence, but I have something you don't have. A soul with a very strong intuition, and it was this that saved me.