He used to ask me all the time if I was okay. As though he never
knew for sure. He would ask me when he was tired or frustrated
or when he felt helpless. He would ask me when he was afraid.
He asked me that same question, long after we stopped being
lovers–when we became something less yet somehow more.
Are you okay? He would whisper on the phone late at night,
when she was asleep or had gone to her mother’s for the
weekend. Are you okay?
He hasn’t asked me in years, but I know he still thinks it. I
know the question still reverberates in his mind like a broken
record and he will keep looking for answers long after there is
nothing left to appease him.
It was always the same question, over and over again. Like the
start of a procession. And it took me years to recognise the
unsaid words that marched silently behind.
Are you okay; because I love you.
Are you okay; because I need you.
Are you okay; because I don’t know how to live without you.