Letter to a Lover

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“So I’m sleeping with her now.”

Let’s stop and analyze that for a minute, shall we?

“So…” – we’re talking and you’re changing gears, shifting my attention to a new point of focus, but quickly – too quick to be nonchalant – too quick for my ears and eyes and heart to perk up, too quick for me to bolster myself.

“So…”

“…I’m sleeping with her…” 

I wish I could say you said those words smoothly, like a flowing stream, clear and free of inner turmoil, but baby, they tumbled from your mouth like a too-quick admission: hidden in a practiced air, fueled by the Smirnoff on your breath.

At this point I’m okay. For this fragment of this millisecond, the sway of the music is still in my bones and a lingering half grin dances on my lips. I’m having a good night.

“…now.”– As in, present tense. As in, currently, this morning, this night, her hands lay on your chest where mine did. As in, her lips touched my favorite parts – right under your jaw, the tops of your shoulders, your pouty lower lip. As in, the smell of her is on you, the touch of her is on you.

Back back back back back back back back back.

I need to go, I need to go, I need to go.

You’re saying words. I don’t know what they are. I am now playing my part – cheery, Well-Put-Together Girl, and I am wishing you the best, kissing your cheek, leaning in for a hug – enough pressure to denote caring, not enough to denote crazy, hold for two seconds, hold, hold, hold, and then pull away in a smooth sweep, with a peck on the grizzly beard I hated.

What did you say? “She’s so insecure about you.”

My mind swims.

Yes, because she’s a rebound fuck and you’re in love with me. 

Nope, no. Well-Put-Together Girl wouldn’t say that.

Why wouldn’t she be? I stayed through your worst, and the only part of you she’ll have is your pity and what’s in your pants.

No, darling. That’s not very kind – to her or him. Try again.

I lean over to squeeze his arm. My eyes are dead but my mouth smiles. “She’s got nothing to be insecure about.”

Because there’s nothing I want from you anymore.

Shush. Don’t say that bit.

For the rest of the night I am on auto-pilot, cruising and smiling at friends, and it is only when I get home, close the door, undress – getting this night off me, getting these clothes, these memories, off of me – that the ache starts.

And now, mind whirring, my Well-Put-Together Girl robot body starts to crack. You slept with her? Am I jealous? No, no I’m not. Am I angry? Yes. Why? Because I want to sleep with you? No. Do I want to sleep with you? No. But how could you sleep with her? That girl, who kissed you when you were mine. Who you were kind to, because you didn’t want her to be sad, on the same night that she made me sad. Who you took better care of than you took of me.

You always kept that option open. And it was open when you needed it. “Always with one foot out the door” – that’s the phrase you used isn’t it?

Well, I can’t say you didn’t warn me.

This is where my heart rallies. “I love you,” I hear your voice say. “He loves you,” a thousand little girls chant inside me. I know this is true, but baby, there’s no solace in those words. You love me, but you weren’t made to love me. Our love wasn’t made to work. And now, I know what it means when they say it wasn’t meant to be.

Oh, and I love you too.


Note: The above is an excerpt for a larger work that I have been slowly building for over two years. I hope one day to be able to share the whole of it, but for now, bits like this will have to do. 

 

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2 Comments

  1. August 7, 2016 / 12:42 am

    Oh, those poor Well-Put-Together Girls…. always – and I mean Always – get hurt, no matter how well warned they were.

  2. August 7, 2016 / 12:45 am

    Sorry, got distracted. I’m back. To me, a phrase from Hemingway’s A Very Short Story “And she expected – absolutely unexpectedly – to be married in June” is the perfect illustration of cases like you described.