How do you feel?
I feel scared.
Because you seem so far away. You don’t tell me what’s going on in your head. You don’t share your feelings with me. You won’t even tell me what you would like from me.
I feel invisible.
You don’t ask me how I feel or how I’m doing.You don’t respond to my flirtations. You don’t seek me out when you feel sad or hurt or worried. You don’t ask me how was my day or hug me. When I tell you that I feel sad or anxious, you don’t respond with words or action. You want me not to need you.
You don’t say anything when you’re vexed with me. Instead, you hold it in and leave me to guess or read your mind. When I ask if you’re upset with me, your body language says, yes, but your answer is, no.
You come home, kiss me on the lips, and disappear into your sanctuary, the bathtub. You stay there for two hours. Sometimes you fall asleep. You read in there, send me article links from there and take a phone call once in awhile as you soak in the hot water.
The greener grass.
I leave you alone and stay out of your way. Your day was stressful and you tell me how you wish you were independently wealthy so you didn’t have to work. You want to travel the world, hike in verdant woods and kayak on calm rivers.
When I come into the bedroom to say hello, you’re out of the tub and lying in bed. The laptop is on your chest. Your cell phone is beside you. I ask, how are you? Your eyes remain glued to the laptop and you tell me that you’re uploading files to Flickr but it’s so slow. Then you glance at me a few seconds and tell me you’re very tired because you had a long, dreadful day at work.
I climb in the bed and sit beside you. I’m all ears to listen. But your eyes remain averted, focused on your activity. You say no more about your experiences. You mention to the wall that the polls show one candidate has more favor than the other. You tell the air that a school teacher from your third grade class just passed. I see a few tabs open on your laptop and realize that I can’t compete. I rise and leave you alone.
You’re lying on your side, eyes closed. You’re not sleeping well lately. You told me this several times. I quietly brush my teeth in the adjoining bathroom and softly climb under the covers. You don’t move. You’re wrapped in the sheet with a pillow safely tucked against you. Your arms hold the pillow close. Your back is facing me. I grab hold of my body pillow and hold it too while I fall asleep. The mattress has not known hunger or ecstasy, passion or sweat in months.
I’m a fool to stay by your side. I wonder how long before you learn to trust again. You want me to trust you, but I don’t know you. I can only trust whom I know to be a compassionate friend.
You finally understand that you need healing. I, too, need to heal. We’re both of us in something we cannot handle. Experts, we agree, will help us through. You see yours and I’ll see mine. The adventure you begin will take you on an emotional journey where the darkest clouds hover and storms raging beneath the surface may break through the icy ceiling. Are you ready? Do you have the courage? Will you go the distance? Can you see your future? Am I in it?
Please, say something, I don’t want to give up on you.
I’m brutally aware of your presence. I hold myself together and carry on with my life. I ask nothing of you. I stay out of your way. I focus on work, the puppies, my favorite books, my diet, my workouts, my mum, my sisters, my writing. You act as if you’re okay with the distance. I’m a cool girlfriend. Each hour that I’m around you, I’m painfully aware that we’re not a healthy couple.
But I’m doing something different. I’m not leaving. You’re the first to get help in a string of desolate lovers. You asked for my patience. It will be my last offering.