It took me days to realise I was actively not thinking about you. I could feel the mania setting in – the insatiable need for distraction, to be busy, to be occupied. I spent hours on social media, trawling the same stories again and again, refreshing apps impulsively looking for a hit, a rush, something so that I wouldn’t think of you.
When it came, the memories, the feelings, it overwhelmed and consumed me. But I didn’t want the tears. I didn’t want to cry for you. So, I would physically move and remove myself, pacing the floorboards of the new house you didn’t want me to buy, turning lights on and off, circumnavigating my small domain like a prowling tom cat. If I stopped you were there, never far from my thoughts and I couldn’t bear it.
“You’re not what I want”. That’s what you said to me, in a fashion. I mean, that’s what you said but not to me. You wrote it, typed it, tapped it with your thumbs into a text that pinged into my messages like you were confirming dinner plans. Only you were ending it. No, that’s not how you saw it, but it was. It was the end because why would anyone stay with someone who says that … “you’re not what I want”.
Speechless. Me, who can usually find so many words, had none left. I had fought for us before, begged you to take me back. I had broken all my rules and felt I’d lost so much of who I had become over those months with you, those nine or so months. I had changed; it had been hard on both of us. My medication was all wrong, making me worse. I wanted to be a better person, and you stood by me, waiting for me to become that person.
I thought I was, not perfect by any means, but I was getting there. Things had been good, so good. You went away for work, a month without laying beside you, imagining how it would be when you returned. And it was, for a short while.
And then a disagreement, a minor argument in the scheme of our previous battles. I left you to brood and went back to my house; the house I bought that offended you in some way. You never seemed happy for me.
I went home and we didn’t speak, a whole night. But the next day, like always, I extended the olive branch. I still can’t recall a time when you had. “I love you”, my text said. And you did … nothing. Cold, radio silence. I tried to call and still nothing. You sent me to voicemail.
Then finally, a text, a message “I don’t want to talk to you right now”.
OK, yes, maybe I can be difficult, and maybe you don’t want to talk to me right now. But I need to hear you love me. I need to know we’re OK. So, I asked, by return text, “I’m either what you want or I’m not?”
“You’re not what I want”.
And with that I knew it was over. Even though within hours you were blaming me, saying I had made you say it. You said I forced your hand, had made it impossible for us to get back together. Wait … what? Get back together? Are you saying you said something so hurtful, intending we would sort it out? Move on? That I would come running back to you like I had before, begging for forgiveness for things I didn’t even understand had been wrong. Oh.
Well, now I understand. And like a mirror unfogging, it become clear to me. You had been bluffing, expecting me to make things right, because I was always apologising for something. I had never said “I’m sorry” so much in my life, in any relationship.
But this time I didn’t.
I started that day saying “I love you”. I ended that day broken hearted and all because of your stupid fucking pride. Your stupid fucking ego. And maybe you don’t care, but I cared. I still care. Just because someone says they don’t want you doesn’t make the love go way.
But I don’t think about it. I’m finding distractions, new ways to forget you and how it hurts.
But in the quiet of the night, when my phone is dim and I can’t hear your breathing beside me, I think of you and I cry. I cry very softly, because I can’t afford to let the tears overwhelm me else I’ll drown. I wonder, sometimes, if you think of me too.