I should have known much earlier. The time he got up after sex and started buffing his nails; I should have known then. Or the day he informed me that he sure missed my breasts. Or the night he told me to leave his house at 2 a.m. because he was tired of me.
Go now, he said. I'm tired. I'm tired of you.
Why are you laughing? It's true.
I know, I said. That's why I'm laughing.
It's a compulsion. I know I'll hate being with him and I'll feel bad afterwards, but I can't stop. I'm thinking of him now: his precisely-parted dark hair that I love to mess up, his snub nose, his brown eyes behind designer lenses, the heart-breaking dimple in his right cheek, his oddly slender wrists, his broad, soft belly. The way he fakes a smile, the way he really smiles. The way he expects me to do what he says as a matter of course, here, drink the rest of this beer, and then, when I don't, diffidently, you don't have to if you don't want to.
I know I don't have to. I don't have to do any of this. Don't have to ask him how his day was, don't have to riffle his hair, don't have to kiss him on the shoulder casually, don't have to put on heels, don't have to write him letters, don't have to let him take me home. Don't have to pretend this could be something good.
It's a compulsion. Like jumping over the cracks in crumbling pavement. Once you start you can't stop doing it, hopping from one asphalt island to another, until the whole ground is a tracery of cracks and there's nowhere safe to step.
If I could just fix this, and I know I can't, but if I could just fix this, if I could make him love me, it would prove I deserve to be loved.
Almost imperceptible witticisms
- Week 6: step on a crack