Wednesday, September 10, 2014


“I don’t love you.”


I waited in the darkness for the words to find their target. Hopeful. My heart beat against my chest in anticipation of the fallout to come. Fear and excitement pumped through my veins.

A soft snore reverberated across the still room, the arm clutching my waist moved higher, tightening around my chest, his face nuzzled into the back of my head as he settled himself. He murmured slightly, I couldn’t discern the words. He slept on oblivious to the disappointment and frustration cursing through me. I’m a coward. I should have spoken sooner. At dinner when he proposed would have been the preferable occasion. He asked if I want to spend the rest of my life with him. And I lied. I even managed to shed a tear over it all. But it was not a tear of joy. I was panicked. 

And now here I am again, lying awake in the dark, him sleeping peacefully beside me, unaware. I am going to break his heart. And it frightens me because I don’t think I will be upset about it. I think I will be relieved. I know I will be relived. I feel guilty right now but more than that, more than anything else, I feel smothered. My hand is trapped under me, but if I move it I will only disturb his sleep again and if he wakes this time then at this ridiculous point I’m going to have to come clean about my feelings, or lack there of, and it’s 3am and all I really want to do is sleep. But I can’t because I feel trapped and uncomfortable and overwhelmingly hot with his body curled up around me. The body I no longer want anywhere near me.

I think I loved him, once, briefly perhaps. I don’t know when I stopped. I just know that that feeling, that strange buzz I once got when I so much as looked in his direction, the annoying red that filled my cheeks when he smiled at me, or said something even slightly flirtatious, is gone. And I can’t get it back. But I can get the courage to end it. I think.

Alice Elliot