What if this morning when your alarm sounded, you rolled over to breathe in my scent of vanilla and coconut with remnants of lavender from my night time body lotion?
I’d feel the safety and warmth of your embrace as the morning chill tried to make its way under the covers.
I’d snuggle up beside the dog we bought together as you slide out into the morning darkness of this tiny apartment. Our little girl. The one that would eventually bring us to what felt like a custody battle.
But what if it hadn’t?
And I just listened to you turn on the shower as I doze back to sleep. Before I knew it, you’d be back and I’d feel the stubble from your chin graze my cheek before your lips find my forehead.
Every morning, I wait for this. What if every morning, it still came?
I would giggle to myself as you leave when I breathe in the lingering scent of your cologne. You’re a 27-year-old man wearing Fierce by Abercrombie and Fitch and I love you for that.
We spend our days at work. I daydream about the life that is ours and try to block out the bad stuff.
What if I had just blocked it out? What if it never came up?
I would have sighed of relief when you walked in the door with a Mac & Cheese pizza from Milano’s even though I promised I’d cook dinner. You knew how exhausting my day was.
I would have pushed away the subtle, yet world-shattering, comments you’ve made about my weight. Ignoring the distant voice in my head, your voice, saying “We really have been eating too much pasta. Did you even go to the gym today?”
I would smile as I poured two glasses of Apothic Red while you sunk into the couch as you did every night. Pizza on the coffee table, wine in our hands. This was our happy place.
It was happy as long as I let it be. As long as I kept my mouth shut.
What if I had? If I’d just said nothing?
We would binge watch Parks & Recreation on Netflix as we tried to match ourselves to one of the couples on the show and we’d eat every last bit of that pizza. That night, we were careless.
We would talk and talk about our plans to spend the weekend with your family. The family that had become my own. We would eat sauce on Sunday, as we did every week. As we have since we were children. It’s what we do. More pasta. More guilt.
The days would continue and I’d tirelessly walk on eggshells because every day wasn’t perfect. It couldn’t be perfect. But, oh, I wanted it to be.
Each day I would play through the scenarios of us, wondering what I could be doing wrong? Why you sometimes wouldn’t pick up your phone? I’m sure it’s nothing. I’m sure you just have a lot to work to do.
What if I had said nothing when I knew our relationship was just off? There were lies. Neglect. Offbeat comments that made me feel so small.
At that point, I’d been so unhappy that I could hardly eat at all. I’ve lost the pounds you subtly mentioned over the last year. You, of course, didn’t notice. I looked the best that I had in my entire life while I was the unhappiest I had ever been.
You continue to think that everything is fine. You didn’t think that I would ever leave you. I continued to internalize my sorrows because you’re living in your own world while you ignore my struggling.
You didn’t see that I was drowning. I was hurting. I was lost. I was alone.
What if she hadn’t died?
I wouldn’t have been crying under the covers while you slept. Hoping that you wouldn’t wake up. I was trying not to put any of my stress on you because I could see that our relationship was fragile enough. I didn’t’ want to be the one to make it worse. I don’t want to lose you, too.
I continued drowning, still. All of the shit you’ve put me through was circling through my mind like a shark on its prey. Waiting for me to break.
Waiting for me to finally tell you how unhappy I was. Hoping that you’d change. Desperately praying for you to tell me that you’ll do better.
But what if I hadn’t? What if I had never told you?
You wouldn’t have left me as soon as I spoke up. If I had just kept my mouth shut, you wouldn’t have noticed a thing.
Wouldn’t have seen me dwindling into nothing. The realities of my misery would have remained invisible to you.
Do you ever wonder what if?
Yeah, me neither.