I didn’t get an alert when you deleted me.
I didn’t get a notification, didn’t accept the terms or conditions. I didn’t get a chance to linger over the picture I had over of our future before you erased it. I didn’t even know it had happened until I looked up to see it gone.
When you deleted me, you decided what I offered you was not what you were looking for. When you deleted me, you saw a path carved out and decided to turn back the other way. When you deleted me, you swiped left on our inside jokes and late-night walks and living room slow dances.
Deleting me electronically would have been easier. We’re part of a generation that can click a screen and delete another person’s entire existence, changing our minds in the time it takes to flash a smile at the new girl across the bar.
Sometimes I wonder what the instant was that you deleted me from your life.
I have my suspicions, of course. I guess we all do, when the rug is pulled out from underneath us. We think back to that time we overreacted. That last time we were sloppy, out of line, a complete wreck in front of him. The last time we weren’t kind. The last time we cried too much, exposing what was so real and messy and true. We’re sure he’s discovered that truth we always hoped we’d keep hidden: that underneath the bravado and the makeup, we are, somehow, maybe just a bit too…unlovable.
For how else could I be so easy to erase?
When I delete you, it will not be impulsive tap nor a deliberate action. It won’t be planned out, taken in ritualistic precision or announced in angry solidarity to girlfriends in a group chat. Because when I gather the courage to delete you, it will signal that separation to You and Me when there was previously an Us. An Us that I was falling in love with.
When I delete you I’ll be alone in my living room.
Next to me is a houseplant with brown leaves.
I sit there for a moment.
Search for your name.
I linger for a moment on your pixelated smile, my stomach turning to ash.
It is a smile that I reveled in; your eyes crinkling at the corners in a way that caught my breath at the back of my throat
I will breathe in and see your smile vanish, replaced with a blank screen.