Sometimes, Being The One Who Walks Away Hurts Just As Much

Brooke Cagle

I didn’t walk away because I no longer loved you. I walked away because I couldn’t breathe.

Nights spent tossing and turning with a never-ending stream of lightning-fast thoughts led to days so long I’d forget my own name come sunset.

You’d text me something sweet, and like spoiled milk, it would churn in my stomach. I’d desperately run my thumbs across the screen, begging my mind to come up with an appropriate reply. Something sincere. Something you deserved.

Clicking send, I knew it was empty. No longer did my words carry love so heavy they’d almost snap the phone line. Tears poured out like a flash flood at first, then a broken spigot, until eventually my drenched pillowcase cradled my tired restless head to sleep.

I was angry. Not at you, but at my heart’s lack of ability to reciprocate the love you so graciously threw my way.

I was drowning, and leaving was my only lifeboat.

The only thing scarier than leaving was the thought of my hand without your fingers to intertwine with, an empty pillow next to mine, a Friday night without breathing in your laughter.

You’d become my island but I was drifting out to sea. And the waves kept growing and growing until I couldn’t keep my head above water. I can’t pinpoint when the storm started. Drizzling at first: just light enough for me to skip the umbrella. Until torrential downpours filled every pothole and flooded every ditch. I wanted to dance in your rain but I forgot my rain boots.

I knew it was happening when the feeling of your fingers tracing my skin no longer brought me chills, but made my heart ache. When “I love you” left my lips like a white lie disguised as a promise. When your name no longer felt like home, but a place I used to know.

I didn’t walk away because I needed something more. I walked away because you deserved something as neat and pure as Sunday morning, and all I had to offer was a messy erratic Friday night. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Writer, traveler, and perpetually hungry.

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