I knew he was leaving. The signs were clear. I just didn’t want to think about it.
“If you wanna go, then go,” I said to him through my bedroom door. He was silent. The only sound I could hear was the gentle clinking of metal. My entire house moans as another lover leaves. I didn’t think it would hurt that much. I’ve certainly had my practice. But it seems all that I have of him is all that he’s left me, a single key on top of the countertop; a reclusive reminder of a love that broke before it bent.
He did not know. There was no way he could. As he left, I closed my eyes, pressed my ear to the floor and listened for the shuffle his feet made on the wood. I was waiting for hesitation, for the sound of his steps to grow louder and louder as he came to my bedroom door. I wanted him to beckon, to beg me to come out, to tell me that he was going to fight for us. I needed him to hear the words that my pride wouldn’t let me say. Please don’t leave me. Not you.
Each year, my fishbowl gets fatter and fatter with keys returned, love disposed of and the sound of footsteps walking away. As my front door ushered him out, I wondered if anyone could see how I was doubled over, weeping on my bedroom floor. Could anyone see the tears that have come to bring me slumber?
Like animals, we learn to adapt. We change because we live, because we can, because we refuse to be victims of our circumstances. It’s like severing an arm to save the rest of your body. We do this because as humans, we see patterns. We do this because only a fool jumps into the same fire twice.
The moon looked ripe that day. We were fighting in the kitchen. It’s a scene I’ve learned to memorize from years and years of repetition. The story is always the same. It’s just the actors that shuffle. This is the part where you leave.
“If you wanna go, then go,” I said to you. You looked confused. Experience has taught me that this would be the last time I would ever see you. I sat silently on the countertop but in my head, I was already in my room, head on the floor, listening to the sound your feet would make as you walked away.
“I wish you’d stop that,” you said, waking me up from my little daydream.
“Stop assuming that everyone you love will leave you. That’s probably why you’re so strange sometimes, how you’re warm one minute and cold as ice the next.” I looked up from my spot in the room. There was a strange calmness in your voice. “If you really want this to work, you have to trust me without contempt. You have to love me without fear.”
Were you there that night my first lover left? How do you know these things when I have built so many walls to keep you away? How do you know the thoughts in my mind when my tongue bleeds from being bitten? Was I that transparent? How do you know me so well?
“I’m sorry,” I said, finally breaking down.
“I’m not going anywhere,” you promised as you wrapped your arms around me. In my heart of hearts and to the lonely moon, I prayed you were telling the truth.
Photo Credit: leaving