Sex wasn’t interesting to her anymore. My jokes didn’t crack her up as they used to. Her eyes were glassy. She wasn’t the unwinged cherub that fluttered around me anymore. Something cancerous was eating into her cheerful nature and I was not willing to acknowledge that it was me. She complained of frequent and sharp pain in the temples and walked feebly. She made an effort to smile. I pretended I didn’t understand what was causing the creek in her heart. She screamed and yelled and fought but I just couldn’t find the reason or so I behaved.
She lined up a wall of silence between us. I continued to pretend to not see it.
Sometimes when she took the step to reach out to me, I conveniently overlooked her attempts or acted like it wasn’t important. It hurt her. I’m sure. But it sometimes felt that it was easier to ignore her gestures than to fill her with love.
She loved differently. She loved deeply. It was so fierce that giving in to it meant breaking a million times, being fixed a million times, and yet not losing the ability to love. So I stayed in the periphery, dodging that aching reach she made to me. I held myself back. I held back incessantly. I could not let her thrive.
I had to keep my heart safe!
Most often, though I perfectly understood what she wanted, I denied her those answers, those shoulders to lean on, those ears to listen to her or remember all the tiny details she let me in on. I pushed her into hell and let the maggots of loneliness eat into her soul. She began to stay in the company of silence more often. I watched her pull herself back every time I knocked her down with my indifference. But am I not entitled to keep my heart safe?
Yes, I love her. I really do.
So we continued, she in the waiting room and I in pretentious self-introspection.