I hate the way you say my name. Like you're commanding me to fall in love with you. Like you know I can't resist. Like you have a secret and want to share it.

And yet, I continue packing, ignoring your protests from the far side of my closed door.


It mocks me, tempts me, my name from your lips.


That's all you have to say. Three small syllables, yet it sounds like you're whispering the entire world for only me to hear.

You've never repeated it before. You've always gotten a reaction with just one murmur. You always got a reaction from me. Until now.

"Melissa, don't do this."

Don't do what? Don't do what I should have done a long time ago?

"Melissa, this isn't what you want."

I agree. It may not be what I want. But it's what I need.

"Melissa, I know you. This isn't right."

I scoff, rolling my eyes where you can't see me, my small defiance a secret from the world.

"Melissa, come on. It's me. You love me."

No. I don't love you. Not anymore. I don't think I ever loved you. I loved the idea of you. The smoke screen. The illusion I lived with for so long. The dream, the hope, the happiness you represented.

But not all dreams come true. At least not this dream.


A whispered plea. Almost. As close as you would dare come. Close enough to make me brace my arm against the wall in an attempt to draw strength from the plaster and wood. The materials that hold up a house. An attempt to strengthen the materials that hold up my heart.

"Melissa, come on. I was your first."

Yeah, but I wasn't yours.

"Melissa, you need me."

But you never needed me.

"Don't do this!" You bang your fist against my door.

The one phrase you've uttered all night without that one word. The only one you didn't begin with my name. My name that made me do anything for you. Yet it's the phrase with the most effect. You're trying another tactic. You're realizing that I'm not that weak little girl anymore. So you try to force me to believe you. Intimidate me into loving you. Scare me into staying.

It won't work. I'm better than that, now. I'm better than you. I don't deserve you. And more importantly, you don't deserve me.


Back to the gentler approach. Smart move. But not smart enough. Smart enough would have been to never have done it in the first place. To never have given me a reason to leave.

This is it. Finally. Days, months, years, have been building, waiting for this moment. My moment.

I grab my suitcase and walk to the door. I'm only inches away from you now. But it seems like a mile. The door. My last protection. My shield. And I'm removing it. Me. Not you. And it's for my benefit. Not yours.


I grab the doorknob, pausing a moment. Just long enough to barely hear the whispered plea.

"Melissa, please."

A word I didn't think you knew how to say. I would have thought that would have made it harder. But it didn't. If anything, it's easier, now. Now that you've said that, reminding me that you never once showed any sign of caring. Not until now, when you pull the word out of your back pocket as a last resort, a last ditch effort to get what you want.

I open the door and stalk out, right past you, suitcase in hand, back straight, head high.


Something about it. Something about the way you say it. It makes me stop, my back to you, head slightly inclined to hear the one last phrase you want to throw my way.

"Melissa, I'm sorry."

I'm sorry too. Sorry I didn't do this sooner.

I walk out of the apartment, shutting the door behind me with a definitive click.


I can hear you faintly through the wood as I walk away. Away from you. Away from what I thought we had. Away from the lie you made me live.


I hate the way you say my name.