I make inane small talk to ease the tension; ease my discomfort, my sadness at the space that gasps between us. I try to embroider the edges of the hole with meaningless chat, with hollow camaraderie, but he resists. The more I lean forward the further he leans away.
The weather’s clearing up, I say, into space. My words hang, unwanted until they tumble into that damn hole.
He says nothing, show no signs that I have spoken, my words do not reach him, they are swallowed by the distance.
This can’t be.
Remember how he loved me? Couldn’t live without me? Ached to hold me, be near me, make love to me? Now he doesn’t know whether to stay or go. I’ve let him down, changed the game plan, become a disappointment and I can’t say whether I will die or live through this.
I see no future without him in it, without him loving me. It all seems so long ago, his infatuated desire for me. How when I met his work colleagues they would tell me how he talked of me all the time, of his love and adoration. What did I do to kill that, to fight that off? Christ it must have taken a lot of work because it was a lot of love, but well done me, I managed to dilute it, to reduce it to rubble.
Can we be fixed? I don’t know. We make the occasional lame attempt, we go out for ‘romantic dinners’ and it seems better for the night, the hole seems less something.
Sometimes we forget altogether, the hole is plastered over well and holds the weight of our love with ease, and then we dance and skip and love on it…but as the cracks show, the fissures begin to splinter inwards and the centre of our world collapses, we are once again standing on opposite sides staring into the crater.
I feel so stupid, so dumb; so bad. I don’t want to lose him, he is me, I am him, nothing would ever be the same again. Everything I know – everything – will be tainted by this loss, or held up against this experience never able to measure up.
What have I done? What have we done? How could we let life intrude in such a way. We had (have?) something rare and precious and forgot to fight for it, forgot to nurture and protect it, to put it before all else. We got mired in routine and duty and responsibility and left love on the back burner because we were so sure of it, and now it has wilted and sits curdled and past its prime and I don’t know how to regenerate it.
I can’t bear it. The pain. I can’t lose him; he’s my everything, my reason. For being. Isn’t he my reason for everything? What will I do? I can’t be alone, but more than that I can’t be without him.
I can’t let him go.
I can’t go on. I have nothing.
What am I doing and where am I going? How did I get so lost?
I need a life raft. I can’t swim. I’ve never been able to swim, I just kept flapping and moving and splashing enough water so no-one would notice. And now I’m drowning.
There is nothing in me and he filled me.
This is a very short piece from my new novel.