Darling I need you far more than I say
None of my fears are as dear to me.
The Wild Son, The Veils
The circle was coming around again. Every once in a while we'd end up the way we started, back in love with each other. And every time it happened it always came as a surprise. As if we didn't think we'd ever feel this way about each other again.
There were times I hated him so much I wanted to kill him. Or hurt him enough to kill him. Let him bleed out his ears from some kind of chronic internal bleeding. I'd heard poison is a woman's weapon, but I wasn't going to stoop that low. All I needed to do was break his heart. Or worse – break hers. Then I would know, with all the certainty in the world, that there would be no going back.
We were in that ditch, the dip right before the circle swung back around to twelve o'clock, where everything was confusion and little hurts. Momentum was slow. The days seemed to drag, the sun hung in the sky for lack of a better thing to do. It was summer but it didn't feel like it. Maybe because we didn't get out much. Maybe because we seemed to argue about everything. His parents, my parents, where we would be spending Christmas, what we wanted to do for New Years. Summer was supposed to be great – our first since we moved in together. But nothing moved in sync the way we wanted it to.
Chris went out one night and didn't come back till lunchtime the next day. He was quiet, which wasn't unusual given how much we'd been fighting, but there was something not quite right about his silence this time around. Instead of sulking and making me feel like I'd done something wrong, in his classic, passive-aggressive way, he retreated into himself and barely looked at me. Apart from a few monosyllabic answers as to where the hell he'd been all night, he never spoke a word.
I should have known that he was cheating on me. Frankly, I didn't have the capacity to suspect him of having an affair. I just didn't think he had it in him. Especially because that was my cheat card. I wanted to hurt him, not the other way around. I wanted to make him feel the way I felt, because things hadn't worked out the way we planned. We were supposed to be happy. He was supposed to be in love with me. And he wasn't. I saw it in his face, in the three-day stubble that clung to his jaw, in the pool of stagnant water, dark and cold, that rippled behind his eyes. He probably hated me as much as I hated him. Although we would never admit to it.
Why is it that people never just come out and say things like that? I imagined walking right up to him as he brooded on the couch watching terrible mid-afternoon TV, with his feet pressing against the arms even though he knew I hated it, smelling of alcohol even after his twenty minute shower.
"Hey, Chris," I'd say, "get your fucking feet off my fucking couch, and listen up. I've got something to say to you. You lousy, spineless, piece of shit."
And then I would smack him upside the head and let it all out. He'd be angry. I'd be angrier. We'd throw things and scream. The neighbors would call the police. One or both sets of parents would show up unannounced. I'd threaten to kill him. His stupid best friend would turn up and I'd threaten to kill her. The cops would swear and threaten to arrest me. Then Chris would swear and threaten to kill them. It would end badly, with one or more of us spending the day and that night in jail, fuming in an empty cell. Then we'd get bailed out with holiday money. Sit in silence during the long car ride home. Sit in more silence while there were showers, and jugs being boiled, newspapers being tossed across the empty table, windows being opened to air out the apartment. We'd sit in different spots in silence and avoid looking at each other. The phone would ring, and it would keep ringing because we won't be able to hear it. I'd be trying to work out if there was anything about him I loved at all. Ultimately, I'd tell myself that I was never in love with him in the first place. And if I was, it was so long ago that I couldn't remember. I'd declare it was over. It had to be. He'd agree, and I would cry because it wasn't what I wanted to hear. And that would be the end. I would move out. That bitch best friend of his would move in. Six months later I'd see them through the window of a coffee shop, walking past talking and holding hands. I'd scowl into my coffee and go back to my book, the hole in my heart growing bigger each day.
But I didn't say anything as I stood there and looked at him. He didn't say anything as he kept on looking at the TV. I thought: I don't love you anymore. If he thought the same, he didn't let on.
Chris shifted over. He held out his arms. I crawled into them and rested my cheek against his thin linen shirt. Our legs tangled up. My hand snaked around his side and I held him close because I was afraid of letting go.
We didn't talk. But we made up for that with murmurs, with our bodies, and with a slow sense of finality.
The circle was almost complete. Except this time I knew it was there, and I knew it was shit.
First draft, critiques appreciated.