You’re awake but pretending to be asleep in your own bed.
You freeze when he whispers your name. You want him gone. You want to erase him out of your flat. But you can’t.
So, you get up and lock yourself in the bathroom. You fill the bathtub with hot water, your skin burns when you get in. But you want it too. You want to feel something else besides the disgusting reminder that you make bad decisions.
He knocks on the door, you want to scream and ask him to go away and never come back. Instead you tell him you’ll be out soon.
You hear him hover, his forehead resting helplessly on the door. He doesn’t know you well enough to ask why you’re being distant so he goes away.
You are craving your favourite song to soothe you but you can’t play it with him around. You can’t share the best part of your life with a stranger. You sit alone in the quiet darkness of your loneliness. You want to cry but the tears don’t come. Your body is tired of grieving someone it shouldn’t.
Everyone said Tinder would help. They lied.
He has a beard and is very good looking. You make him shy and that annoys you sometimes. He holds your hand when you’re in public and rests his head against your shoulder whenever he’s near you. You never reciprocate.
You are shivering when you come back into the bedroom. He holds you but you don’t hold him back. You ask about his daughter. He says something but you’re not listening. You remind yourself to smile in response. You quickly think of another question.
He gets up and makes your bed. You want him to stop touching your stuff.
It’s 4am but you’re already getting ready for work. He doesn’t ask why.
He is good at making the bed, he even pulls on the corners you lazily leave undone. You remember to smile when he catches you admiring his bed making skills.
He arrived last night with a book. He brought an intimate gift only lovers should buy each other.
It all feels out of place but you play along and take what you don’t deserve. He doesn’t look at you when he gives it. You remind yourself to hug him. He kisses your forehead. You say you are happy in case you fall short expressing it. He believes you. You are pleased.
You are two hours early for work. He holds your hand while he drives you there. Now you can feel the tears coming. You open the window. It’s freezing and the cold makes it hard for you to breathe. Your skin hates you for the torture but you don’t care. You need something to numb the pain. He doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t know the vocabulary to reach into you just yet. You close the window and this time you can’t force a smile.
You let the grieve flood you. You feel your ears getting warm. You loosen his grip of your hand. He can feel you slipping away again, and quickly asks if you are still on for tonight. You’re hoping he’s what you need to stop hurting, so you say yes without even thinking about it.
You would rather be alone with him than be alone by yourself. You don’t look at him. You hate him for being the one that’s wants to be here. But then you remember the one you love does not love you too. You remember to smile.
Photo by: Lonwabo Zimela