"And even if it does…"
FLASH FLASH FLASH SPIN SPIN SPIN
The room fell silent. The decrepit space-heater that I kept running continually even made its pause for sheer, dramatic effect.
ASIDE: It has always amazed me how such a small capacity can become occupied with so many things, yet if it weren't for our own movements nothing would stir, nothing would sound.
She lied on her side facing away from me. Symbolism, I'm sure. There she was right by my side - together, but refusing to acknowledge it. She was never a woman of many possessions, tangible or not, and though I wasn't a mere object to obtain, the idea of being hers was terrifying. After all, people are never afraid to lose something they do not possess.
I was eager to hear her response, but refrained from pushing it out of her. I wanted to say something, anything really, but everything had already been said and reiterated a hundred different ways a thousand times fold. I simply wanted to remind her I was still there, still waiting. The overly impatient space-heater picked up again cutting into our silent conversation. Maybe the space-heater never actually cut out. I did always keep it running. Maybe those moments of complete silence are actual times in which the world stands still. I kept my hands as still as that moment felt. I had all the time in the world to wait for an answer. I wasn't leaving until I had one. At least not this time.
"I love you," she quivered as if she had just stepped out of the ocean in February.
"Do you?" I asked monotonously. It hardly even sounded like a question.
"Truly I do," she replied breathlessly. She rolled over to face me now. Though she seemed agitated, I was happy to finally see her. Not only because it forced her to say these things of great magnitude directly to me, but also because I sincerely missed that face since the second she turned it away. "What else can I possibly do to assure you?"
"You can tell me what you're feeling when you're feeling it."
"But I can't express myself with words the way you can, Alex."
"Just tell me the emotion. You don't have to describe it in voluminous detail."
She laughed. "Horny."
"Well, that's obvious. What else?"
"Okay. What else?" I reached my arm around her waist, my hand cupping the curvature of her back.
"How are you worried if you feel safe?"
"I'm worried I'll lose that feeling. I felt safe with you before, and then you left. Everyone always leaves."
"Some come back."
"Sure, some do."
"I came back."
She sat up now, moving my arm away from her. "But what's going to keep you here this time? I haven't changed. I'm the same person I was then. Older, but none the wiser... clearly. We shouldn't be doing this. You're going to get bored of me, and then you'll leave. Again."
"You don't know that, and neither do I. All I know is now, ____. Don't give up on us without giving us a chance. Don't leave now."
"But I have nothing to lose now."
"Then you do not love me."
FLASH FASH FLASH SPIN SPIN SPIN
"… you'll just do it all again."
Every night I am exhausted before bed, but the second I lay my head down and close my eyes, all I hear is silence… the same deafening silence as the day you left, and suddenly the idea of sleep is as fleeting as the memory of holding you.