If my earlier romantic encounters were skirmishes in the universal war of conflicting needs, my friendship with Lulu was its brutal trench warfare, lasting years and leaving between us a twisted landscape of anguish and resentment where nothing grew.
If I could have our time over again, I would change almost every decision I made and every word I uttered, at this time, but I wouldn’t change Lulu. I wouldn’t wish never to have met her. She was worth the destruction. She was amazing. Still is.
We just weren’t very good for each other, Lulu and I. Sympatico but not temperamentally compatible, for the age-old reason that I liked her more than she liked me.
And the friendship wasn’t corrupting or degrading. Instead, it revealed to me, in the harshest light, my own flaws. I was simply ill-prepared for that, so it wounded me deeply. Lacking a more robust sense of identity, I found value and substance in myself only as a bundle of virtues. When it was pointed out that neither my desires nor my behaviours were virtuous, it precipitated an existential crisis. What was I good for? What was the point in me? Was I just a tube for turning good food into shite?
We each brought our own idiocies and idiosyncrasies and tangled them up in that relationship, so it’s too large and too complicated to talk about here. Leave it hanging in the air, ill-defined but influential: a dark cloud covering the sky, dimming the daylight.
 I’m not sure she would agree. She suffered at least as much as she inflicted.