Sometimes we have to let go of what is killing us, even if it is killing us to let go.
“Are you going to ignore me all day?”
I’m more sad than angry. Being angry is exhausting, I discover. It drains me, each and every dagger I throw your way slicing into my own heart. All I want is a word, an acknowledgement of ‘us’ but you refuse to give me that, your silence cutting in more deeply than words ever could.
I look at you, my gaze hopeful, but you refuse to meet my eyes.
“Sit with me”, you say gruffly, turning away without waiting for a reply.
It’s an olive branch and I desperately grasp for it.
Following you into your room, I snuggle into the couch, waiting for you to say something. You don’t. You type away at your desk, lips pursed, but the silence is comfortable so I let it go.
And yet, there is a simmering tension in the air, a warning of the chaos below this façade of peace.
I hate it. I hate that there’s this wall between us, that we’ve lost that closeness we once shared. The trust that I broke.
Tears prick my eyes.
There is the heady scent of the past in the air, the intimacy of shared memories. Of those days when we would sit late into the night, talking about everything and nothing at the same time, time flying past us, not a care in the world.
I want that trust back, I want to see the glint of love in your eyes, the respect, the endearing affection, the bear hugs, the late-night talks, our tears mixing together until we no longer know who’s comforting who, the sound of our mingling laughter, I miss it.
I miss everything but what you ask for in return is too much.
And every day, the guilt cuts into me until I feel like my heart is bleeding from thousands of paper cuts and I long for the day when I will no longer feel the pain.
I look at you again, taking in the sight of your tightened jaw, your clenched fist, the bitter glint in your eyes. I can handle your anger, your shouts, but this quiet disappointment is too much for me.
I have to take the first step forward before everything we once had is completely shattered beyond recovery.
I have to open up, let myself be vulnerable because that’s what all relationships are about isn’t it? Being vulnerable and accepting the other person for who they are.
So I decide I’ll tell you.
I imagine I’ll tell you and you’ll be proud, and you’ll understand like you always did. You’ll smile at me and press your lips to my forehead, and everything will be alright. It has to.
“I have to tell you something”
My voice comes out shaky, betraying the nervousness at laying myself out open like this.
You nod absent-mindedly, and I quell the rush of anger at your apathy. This is not the time to let my emotions loose.
One deep breath. And another one.
You shift in your chair and stare deep into my eyes and shivers run down my spine at the unmistakable hatred in them.
“Everything about you is always important, isn’t it.” you drawl, the bitterness in your voice shining through.
“It’s always about you. Always. Have you ever thought even once about the people around you? Have you ever thought about me? About how what you did affected me?”
A knife twists inside my gut and I think I’ve stopped breathing. My vision swims and black spots dance at the corner of my eyes.
Is this what you think of me? Is this what everyone thinks of me when I tell them about the venture?
“No. You didn’t, ” you smirk, apparently satisfied with my reaction, cruelty glinting in your eyes.
You mutter something that sounds like ‘selfish brat’ underneath your breath as you turn around and I’ve had enough.
Tears pool in my eyes, slowly sliding down my cheeks and I make no effort to hide them. I’m done being ashamed, I’m done being embarrassed, I’m done putting up with you and your ability to hurt me so much.
I get up, drawing in a shaky breath, and walk to the door, hating how my hand trembles. I open the door and turn back to glance at you one last time.
“I won’t lay down my dreams for you. I’m not going to give up what I want just so you can be happy. And if that’s being selfish, I’m okay with that.”
My voice is small but surprisingly steady and I slam the door behind me as I leave. When I’m in the privacy of my room, I curl up into a fetal position on the floor and let the tears fall, dry heaving onto the cold, white tiles.
You’ll be back, I know.
You’ll come in tomorrow with your sweet lies and honeyed promises and I’ll give in, like I always do.
You’ll pretend none of this ever happened and I won’t be able to resist you, resist the man you once were to me. A man who doesn’t exist anymore.
And one day, I’ll give in completely. I’ll give up my dreams for you in hopes of the approval I hate to crave. The approval that’ll never come.
And I’ll lose everything I’m holding back, I’ll become a shell of the person I am, a mere shadow of you.
But today, I resisted. Today, I spoke up. Today, I said the things I’ve always thought but never dared to voice.
And I’ll pay for it, with the stifling silence and the harrowing guilt. But now, I’ll smile through these tears; I’ll smile because every small victory counts.
I’ll let myself hope that one day; you’ll see what I see in myself.
That one day you’ll approve of me.
That one day, you’ll love me the way I love you.
A single tear slides down my cheek as I close my eyes shut.