Afflictions of a Romantic Heart II
She snuck into the other room, taking her thoughts and questions with her. He slept on the couch, unaware of her absence.
She didn’t understand it. She couldn’t fathom why she stayed when she wasn’t truly happy, why she couldn’t let go though her heart was left unsatisfied. She didn’t understand it.
It wasn’t love that held her here. Before, to the other, yes—love and friendship and familiarity held her fast. But here? She wasn’t in love. And when she thought of it, she wondered if she could even really call him a friend. There were glimmers of friendship, and more—moments when it seemed there might be something there. But they were just moments, and moments pass. There was nothing lasting.
She was stupid to think he would change. Those early moments—they were clearly not the norm. This was the norm. Sitting in a room with half a dozen people, sitting by his side not saying more than a few words. Sitting with sports on the TV, with work on the laptop, with a book in his hands. Sitting and waiting. Waiting for it to be her turn, waiting for his attention.
This was not for her. This was not what she wanted. Was this really what anyone wanted? Besides him, that is.
Maybe this worked for some. Maybe coexistence was acceptable, even preferred, for some. It didn’t work for her. She was a romantic at heart, after all, and she was not given to sharing. She wanted all or nothing. And here, it seemed, it would be nothing.
The words echoed in his head. He heard them as if she had spoken them a dozen times, as if she had hollered them into a canyon. Over and over.
I don’t want this.
He had been caught off guard. It had come, completely unexpected.
“Why?” was all he could ask.
She gave her excuses, her explanations. He only heard bits and pieces, still processing those first four words. Among her list, though, a few complaints burned through the shock.
“You don’t kiss me like you mean it, you don’t talk to me, you say you’re listening but you don’t act like you’re interested. I don’t get why you hang out with me at all.”
Because you’re smart, and beautiful, and sweet, and you make me laugh; and I don’t know, I’m just happy around you.
But he didn’t say that. He assumed it was too late.
Her heart dropped when he just shrugged.
I don’t get why you hang out with me at all, she had said.
And then he shrugged.
All of the energy, her anger, her fire, fled, as if a cold wind had blown it from her very center. It left her hollow and aching and cold.
She had been right. And at the same time, she had been stupid. So stupid. She had thought she had held the wall, maintained the guard, when all along, her own heart had betrayed her. No, she wasn’t in love. But she had wanted to be in love. And to get here, to find it was all a waste, she was overwhelmed by the disappointment.
She hadn’t expected to cry over him.