I embrace her and she takes a few steps back. I reach out for her hand and she crosses her arms. I say something. She says something. And there are tears building in her eyes. I have a choice now as she signals to open the door and step out of my house. I can grab her and take it all back, kiss her and say exactly what she wants to hear, exactly what part of my brain wants to say. Or I can stand resolute in this decision: let her go, let her leave.
(And she is gone.)
I’m alone watching from the windowpane as she drives off in her silver car. I feel indifferent. I feel a bit angry at how cold I am being, until I realize just how overwhelming and intense this apathy is. It’s suffocating. She cries in her car, driving home. I do laundry. I pick up a shirt she left on the floor and smell it. This smell, what is this smell? Who was this person?
When it ended, the exchange was like a movie; it was all so smooth and frictionless. This should have been expected; all love ends in heartbreak. This was the moment we had been rehearsing for the past three years. This event was merely the final emission of what had long since taken place, had already happened.
I broke it off in bed. She got up to pack her things and I was so drowsy that I fell back asleep for about 20 minutes. In this haze, I dreamt she was outside and I was looking at her through a window. The sun was setting and she was vanishing with the day, first into a translucent sketch, then a hue indistinguishable from the night sky. When I woke up and saw she was still there, I told her I had just had a horrible nightmare and moved out of bed to touch her, to feel her skin. “Just don’t,” she said. I stared at her face, observing her, feeling myself transform in her eyes from a lover into a stranger. A force field enwraps her; I feel her falling away from me at an exponential speed.
The laundry machine beeps. I look at my phone, half-hallucinating her name appearing on the caller ID. She won’t be calling me tonight. I won’t be calling her. I pace around my place, behold ghosts, and nothing is exactly so uncanny right now as to be alone here with my memory of her.
Put on my headphones, listen to music, browse the web. Make a phone call, some integral part of me is missing but it will grow back, it always grows back. Run the dishwasher. The dishwasher runs, rinsing the dishes.
There are millions of ways to rationalize what happened, and why. You can come up with so many logical excuses, so many narratives to justify it all away. It seems to me, though, that it boils down to just one fundamental thing: Falling in love is, if not easy, then at least commonplace. Coordinating your love with another — that is difficult, that is miraculous because it entails sacrifice. A sacrifice: I today am either too young to make just yet, or perhaps just too selfish.