Our love was a drug. Intoxicating. Addictive. Sometime damaging, but too good to pass up. I craved his touch more than water on my parched tongue. It wasn’t a desire, but a necessity.
We were two lonely souls trying to survive as we chased after our dreams. Finding each other was like coming across the Holy Grail. The pain of our struggles dimmed by the warmth of the bed that we came to share.
It wasn’t enough though. The vague visions of our unfulfilled dreams continued to haunt us. In his case, it was the line-up of paintings adorning the shabby walls of our apartment, each falling short of getting him in an art school. As for me, it was the orgasmic rush I’d get every time I pictured myself singing on a stage.
Everyday was the same. I went out for auditions, while he stayed home to paint. As I waited for call-backs that never came, he was left with a multitude of rejection letters. As time passed, I started performing part-time in a club, while he was forced to sell his paintings. Despite that, we never lost hope. It's only a matter of time, we would remind each other.
While our days were disappointing, our nights were full of passion. I wrote songs for him, while he drew me flowers since I couldn’t touch real ones because of my pollen allergy. It was the peak of my happiness, but then the ache of my unrealized dream would return.
Eventually, my unyielding persistence came into fruition. I was offered to replace the lead singer of a somewhat successful band when their previous vocalist unexpectedly resigned right before a tour.
I ran home to share my news, knowing he’d be thrilled to join me. The change of scene would help boost his creativity.
However, I was shocked to see him mirroring my exhilaration. It turned out he had news of his own.
"I got in!" He held up an acceptance letter. "It’s a school in Italy. We have to start packing."
My eyes flooded, and his face fell. "You’re coming with me, right?"
"I've got a tour next week," I mumbled, showing him my advance check.
“You got in the band?” His face lit up, only to be dimmed again by the realization of what it would mean for us.

Until yesterday, I had never considered the possibility of a life without him, but now, as I lay in his arms, I knew I’ve lost him. My heart began to pound, so I climbed out of the bed. Locking myself in the bathroom, I let out all my frustration in a puddle of tears. I tried to choose between my dream and love, but it was impossible.
Eventually I had to settle. It was the hardest decision of my life, but it was the only way. I made a quick phone call to my friend Andre, before crying myself to sleep in the cold, empty bathtub.

I woke to his gentle caress on my forehead. “You’ve caught a chill,” he lifted me on to the bed. I smiled, but then I remembered the choice I had made last night and guilt consumed me. Tears threatened to spill.
“You should rest,” he suggested. “I’ll make you some ginger syrup for you.” I noticed that he was already dressed. Not long before he’ll go for his morning jog. Dread rippled inside me. What had I done? Should I text Andre to call it off? But then I’ll lose him forever.
While I engrossed with my thoughts, he had already made the piping hot ginger syrup for me that helped with my allergies. He placed the canteen on the bedside table. “Drink it slowly. I’ll be back soon.” He planted a goodbye kiss on my forehead before heading out.
Minutes passed by, but I was too caught up in my dilemma to act. The beep of a text bought me back from my stupor. Seeing Andre's name pop up on my screen made me realise that it was now too late to put a stop to it. I glanced at the text, and my chest grew heavy.
It’s done. I’ve made it look like a robbery. Bring the money to the club tonight.
It was over. I wasn’t going to lose him anymore. I got what I wanted, but my heart ached when I pictured him lying out there covered in blood and tears, writhing in agony at the loss of the dream he had nurtured for a lifetime. I wanted to run to him, to comfort him, but I had to wait or he’ll know I was responsible.
Now that my mind wasn’t clouded by fear anymore, the gravity of my actions finally hit me. I let out a wail, and kept at it until my mouth turned too dry to continue, grabbing the canteen from the bedside table, I chugged the ginger syrup down to the last drop.
At last it finally came, a call summoning me to the hospital, as I was his only emergency contact.

Maybe it was the guilt, but I could barely breathe. I ignored the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and rushed to his side.

When I finally saw him, my stomach dropped at the sight of his cold, empty eyes.
“The doctor said I can never paint again,” he mumbled, holding up his bandaged right hand. “Are you happy now?”
I frowned. How could he possibly know? I wanted to explain myself, to make him see that I did it for us. However, when I opened my mouth to respond, I was suddenly choking. My windpipe was jammed, my throat began to swell, and eventually it became the size of a golf ball. My words transformed into a guttural, strangling sound. I wrapped my fingers around my neck to massage the pain away, while trying desparately to ask for help.
I didn’t understand what was happening. The last time I had choked like this was when I had an allergic reaction to pollen after I sniffed a flower.
“So you drank all of it?” he laughed in derision. “Looks like we had the same idea.”
It finally clicked. The ginger syrup! I wasn’t brave enough to imagine the damage it would do to my voice, but deep down, I knew it was over. Even if I could sing again, I was going to lose the only opportunity I had gotten in years. I might never get another.
Despite everything, I couldn't bring myself to hate him. After all, we did the same thing.
We loved each other too much to let go. So we held on, staying chained to the ground, not allowing the other to soar either. All that was left now was a grave of broken dreams and shattered illusions of what we thought was love.