I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Just waiting for her to say “No, Alex I’m joking!”. Waiting for a smile to break out on her face. The one where her tongue pushes against the back of her teeth because she’s trying not to smile. The one where she’s fighting a losing battle because she’s smiling with her eyes and they’re crinkling at the corners.
But the longer I looked at her the more I realised that the thin line of her mouth and the steely look in her eyes wasn’t going to suddenly snap into a look of humour. The more I realised that she wasn’t wringing her hands together to stop herself from giving the joke away, but because she was nervous. And serious.
And in love with someone else.
Someone called Lou.
A person I didn’t even know existed until about two minutes ago. A person I didn’t even know I was in competition with. Had somehow…lost to.
Because that’s the only way to describe what it felt like. It felt like an immense and crushing loss. Like someone had forced their hand into my chest and taken a firm, painful grip of my heart and started squeezing. Mercilessly. Harshly.
I watched her slowly lick her lips in a way that I know means she is thinking things through. She was buying time. Time to figure how exactly she was going to shatter my heart. Her mouth opened and closed and then she brokenly whispered “I’m sorry.”.
That word that is supposed to cure or fix everything sounds more meaningless than ever. Sat in a room full of all our stuff in our flat she thinks sorry is going to soothe the open wound.
I tried to speak but nothing came to me except a choked off laugh. Because that was all I had. I could see in her face that she was preparing for a shouting match. She was prepared for anger and screaming and waiting for me to tear her down in a rage.
But I didn’t know how to do that. There was no anger there. Only numbness.
And the feeling that I was standing on the edge of a cliff with a thin thread keeping me from falling. And she has the scissors.
And she could cut me lose with one simple answer. I’d fall and be left to the wind but it would be better than the alternative.
And she knows that. She knows me. There is no denying that.
So I asked the one and only question that I needed the answer to in that moment:
“Did you ever love me?”
Then I silently pleaded with her.
‘Come on make this easy. Pick the answer that you think would hurt me less. Pick the answer you know would hurt me less. Say that these last 3 years never mattered even if they meant everything to you. Say it. Please. You have your plan B. Give me mine. Say it didn’t matter. Make it easy.’
(Let’s be honest it was just a matter of time before I wrote something based on a Fall Out Boy song. It won’t be the last. This lyric is still haunting me. Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!)
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