A friend once confided that she wanted the love described in Neil Hilborn’s “OCD,” and I wondered if she knew what she was saying. If she understood the gravity of that came with such a love.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn’t a quirk. It’s not the cute trope popular culture has painted it. And it’s not romantic. Not in the sense that she heard the poem anyway. “She was the first beautiful thing I ever got stuck on,” Hilborn writes, after listing the terrible things that has occupied his mind. The germs invading his skin, being crushed by cars.

To be stuck on someone is to obsess over someone. To be obsessed over someone is poison your own well. To consume fetid waters until your body decays outward. You search for someone who can possibly replace the one you lost, knowing the effort is futile because every single person pales in comparison. It’s the comparison. How can anyone live up to such standards?

I selected Hiborn’s poem because I know what it’s like to get stuck on someone. What’ it’s like to wish they’d come back. How you alter your routines in hopes that they’ll walk into that door again. And how you know they never will.

Please enjoy.

She told me that she shouldn’t
have let me get so attached to her,
that this whole thing was a mistake,
but how can it be a mistake

that I don’t have to wash my hands
after I touch her? Love is not a mistake.
It’s killing me that she can run away
from this and I just can’t. […]

from Our Numbered Days

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