I met my zombie while I was drowning, lost in a sea of sadness. My heart had broken and I was sinking fast.
And he was there, just out of reach, floating on his back, eyes gazing upward. I frantically and frenetically clawed my way to him and when I reached him, clung on for dear life. I thought if I hung on, he would save me.
I didn’t notice his skin was cold — we were wet. I didn’t see his eyes were empty — I was so messy inside I couldn’t see straight. I couldn’t have known that he was lifeless, already drowned and now bloated so floated to the surface. He looked so real that I thought he was.
By the time we’d returned to shore, I’d become hooked into him and was starting to pour myself in. I used to believe that you could love someone right. Love them right back from the edge. Just share enough of yourself with them so that they had something in them too.
I didn’t need to be all of me, if it meant having some of him.
My zombie existed but he wasn’t living. He was stuck in between life and death, in a limbo land I hadn’t realized I’d entered to save him. The pain of loving him was almost too much to bear. Tread lightly, my dears, read this tale with care. There were warning signs you can follow to escape. I’ve been down this rotten path, so take heed, these are the 13 signs you’ll need, to tell if you too have fallen in love with a zombie.
1. Commitment issues.
This was the first sign he was a zombie: his inability to commit to a plan, a time, a person. He blew like the wind. Drifted like a dark rain cloud. Crept around like a growing shadow. But he did not do anything on purpose.
When the call was heard, to live or to die, he chose neither. He’d given up on choice, preferring anti-choice. He couldn’t and wouldn’t decide, because a decision would mean committing to something and commitment was his greatest fear.
2. Making mistakes.
Zombies lose things, forget, never know why, are repeat offenders. Mistakes follow zombies like a swarm of bees — stinging them into action but because they’re numb and cant feel the effects, the problems are plentiful, blossoming bouquets. Zombies state their shortcomings as accepted facts, not as areas to improve upon.
They mistake warning signs for a map pointing them where to go.
Zombies cause pain and sadness by existing in chaos but refusing to do anything about it. Instead they keep walking forward, eyes glazed, unable to take responsibility for their actions. It was never his fault and I felt painfully sorry for him.
He seemed so sad and confused as to why he continued to hurt me but was unable to stop. His pain was worse for me to see than to feel my own, so I accepted the burden myself.
I thought I was stronger, so ended up accepting that I was the reason he’d wronged me, cheated, binge drank, gone missing for days, because if it was my fault, I could change it. I wanted to make it better for him. But with a zombie, nothing changes. It doesn’t get better, it gets worse.
5. Seeming sad.
Zombies were once broken people, and you’ll see a residue of human sadness covering their skin. At some point in the past, people have hurt them, so while they’ve been branded as bad, you can see that they’re sad. Understanding where they’ve come from doesn’t mean accepting their awful treatment as an excuse.
Mine looked grey, dulled down, he even sounded muted. I falsely identified with his pain as if it were still present — but it was a shadow. Even mutual sadness couldn’t connect us. Whatever zombies seem to be, they are not.
I thought his emptiness was a lightness of being. He was a cloud, and together we’d live in la-la land. I mistook his lack of attachment to anything as transcendence, but the reality was he couldn’t care less. He’d hunger for my flesh but it never satisfied him.
He’d prefer to drown inside by downing bottles of beer and disappearing in a puff of smoke — his magic dragon, anything to avoid reality and protect his emptiness.
7. No value.
Zombies have no self-worth, self-pride or value. They treat their bodies badly because they’re half-dead already. Instead of actively participating in life, they escape it. They don’t know how to live, only drift, on the surface, skimming over anything deeper than the shallow end. Smoking weed. Taking drugs. Drinking hard. Dulling down.
Sleeping in the day and staying up all night, festering.
8. Your love terrifies them.
Zombies don’t want your love. They’ll throw it back in your face, publicly embarrassing you with it.
He called my love a cage, and believed I was trying to control him with it. He responded best to cruelty — put-downs, malicious teasing, nastiness — he was attracted best to the worst of me. I’d do it for him, on purpose — it kept him close. But drop my guard to let some kindness out and he’d retreat. Only my darkness drew him closer.
He once described me as vicious and sensitive. I knew the latter was the insult.
9. Equal treatment.
At first I loved how he treated everyone the same. But soon after, it became confusing, I realized how disturbing it was. It wasn’t a virtue, he didn’t differentiate because he couldn’t see.
A zombie can be equally liked and disliked by two different people, and yet spend the same amount of time with each without preference. He would slander friends and then spend hours in their company.
“She’s a slut, so old and ugly; I don’t know what he sees,” and then text “Hello beautiful, what you up to?” “He’s a cheapskate, super stingy,” followed with “I’ll bring the prawns and champagne!” It made no sense to me.
They spend money at the speed they drink beer — with reckless abandon. Do not mistake uncontrolled, thoughtless, rash spending as generosity. It’s not just you that they’re giving to — they would do the same for anyone, anyplace, anytime. Nothing matters. They’re hasty, thoughtless and uncontrolled. They accumulate debt as if it’s a prize.
11. They’re always late.
Zombies live at a slower pace. It’s not that they are more chilledand relaxed than you, or taking it easy, it’s because they are stagnating. They have no concept of time or understanding of its relevance. Zombies are always late. Excuses gush from their lifeless lips like a driveling saliva stream.
Although the outcome was always the same, my zombie always acted surprised when he was late again.
12. Un-actualized potential.
Unlike a seed buried deep under soil, the zombie gives up growing before ever cracking the surface, before ever seeing the light and flowering. They choose to be hopeless, lost, dysfunctional, dazed — almost stoned (which they are too). But this tragic non-existence does not deserve your pity or condolences.
13. There’s something different about them.
Listen to the insanity they speak. It’s not creative babble, it’s deeply disturbed dreams. Mine always resented that I didn’t leave him at lost at sea. He thought I’d dragged him back to a shore he didn’t want to be on.
“I wonder what it would be like to be eaten by sharks,” “I want to live on a boat,” “I’m going to sail away and never come back,” “I’ll paddle off the edge of the earth!” Your mermaid magic won’t keep him.
I mistook strange as special, odd as unique and unusual as exceptional.
There was something not quiet right, that I just couldn’t place, something that was off somehow but it’s so difficult to understand. I sensed the truth, but thought, how could it be? The rot had set in. He was soon to be revealed for what he was.
It’s painful loving a zombie, because
he fits into your delusion that true love heals all.
Your idea that you could be someone’s fairy tale prince, rescuing them from their castle of damnation. But your kiss of true love won’t awaken them from their sleeping beauty of eternal slumber — they’ve chosen to be comatose.
Loving a zombie is like loving a rock —
he is merely a platform for your projection.
Your idea of what could be possible. You can’t love a non-reactive organism forever. Only by removing yourself will the truth become clear. The perspective distance gives is the only way to identify the zombie.
My dears, if this too is your tragic tale, know that once upon a time you didn’t love a man… you fell in love with a monster. And if you could love a monster, imagine the joy you’ll encounter, when one day, you love a man.