Hurt is not the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind.
They met a couple of months ago when he walked into a guitar shop in an unfamiliar part of the city. She was a worker there, and she was eating a hot pocket when he walked in. They nodded to each other, and she did not immediately flock to him like many annoying shop keepers do.
Eventually, they became acquaintances, and then somewhat friends, and then close friends. This was mostly through grunts and silent conversations; mostly about music.
That was another thing, she had good taste in music. Sure, she also liked that blues sound, but it’s not like he didn’t like it, he can always appreciate a good voice.
They slept together. Once. It was spur of the moment, and she didn’t stay long afterwards, but she did steal a hot pocket from his fridge. That was something he appreciated. No expectations. No strings. And she still greeted him the next day as if nothing had happened. And they continued to have that special friendship with a little extra on the side.
This was the way it should have been.
This was the way it was:
About a month after they first had relations, he prompted it again, and she turned away. This wouldn’t have bothered or phased him, if it wasn’t for what she had said.
"I just want to feel something, you know?"
He did not.
"Anything, I mean, I don’t expect you to get all romantic and shit on me but fuck, I mean there’s nothing there. No hate, no love, no passion, no anxiety or urgency.” she talked with her hands, as if trying to grasp the right words, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but sometimes I think you’re just dead.”
When she was met with silence, she sighed, “It’s just…sometimes, when I would walk into a room, do something, and then turn the light off and leave, I wouldn’t even notice that you were there inside until you said something.”
She was nothing special. A nice friend, a nice girl, a nice lay; but her words bothered him. Made him feel uncomfortable.
"It’s like you’re not even human sometimes."
He wished she had spared him the information.
"Sorry man, it’s nothing personal, I still love you, you’re my friend and all that, but I can’t be naked around you again."
And he felt that when she said naked, she meant something else entirely, but he failed to ask.
The next week, he sees her with someone. And he feels no anger or jealously or remorse, sadness, or even hurt.
He felt nothing.
in this hour of what she would like to call betrayal she can only feel vast emptiness
she does not care anymore
the sea is sounding
she is speaking to him with words he thought she could not say
'i don't love you'
the sea rests
a whore hums
the way her ancestors would
hum for rain
or the harvest
she hums for warmth
shelter from the rain
and the hungry eyes of passing people
a job is a job but
not during the holidays
On his first night home from the hospital, he offers to sleep on the fold away bed in the living room in order to have his wife keep the bed. He didn’t even feel comfortable in his own clothes, and he expected that the bed would be even worse.
He had barely slept that night, in that unfamiliar house that he doesn’t remember picking out or being in before this day. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he hoped she slept better than he did, but by the tired look she had in the morning, he guessed that she didn’t get much sleep either.
It continued like this for a very long time, and while he was slowly remembering things like his child’s birthday and where they kept emergency candles, he didn’t remember anything resembling a memory and it drove him mad.
Not until the third month sleeping on the fold away did he remember anything. Perhaps he had been dreaming but he was certain that it was a memory, it just felt real.
His wife was there, but before she was his wife and before they lived in this house—she was lying next to him, facing him, naked as a babe, and she was laughing. Nothing cruel or mocking, but full-hearted, joyous laughter at something he had said. He did not remember what he had told her, but he wished he did.
The next night, he slipped in between the covers and lay next to her while she was sleeping, and was amazed at how he ever slept on that fold away without her at his side.
Standing in the doorway, they wave to their daughter as her friend’s mother comes to pick her up for a birthday party. He wants nothing more than to go back to watching the game, but the look on his wife’s face scares him and causes him to have…flashbacks.
"Oh no," he says, distancing himself from her with his arm out as if she would attack him, "Don’t do that—"
"Do what?" she doesn’t stop.
"That," he gestures wildly and vaguely, “The last time you did that, that happened,” he gestures to the car, now driving off in the horizon, obviously referring to their child.
"Hmm? Oh no, that was your fault." she responds casually.
Whilst he is distracted with defending himself and his point, she carefully guides him back inside, not wanting him to catch a cold in this weather.
The thing he remembers most was how fast his heart seemed to be beating against his chest, after that it was her smooth skin and her soft voice. If they had been in her apartment, she would have stayed quiet as a mouse, he suspects, because she had previously told him that she could hear any and every loud noise from upstairs, but since they were in his flat, and he lived right above her, she let her voice palpitate between tones and volumes, only to be muffled whenever she kissed him
It had never occurred to him that this wasn’t her first time, nor was it his either, but it definitely surprised him, considering how strict she was back when they were teenagers, and how stern her parents were, and especially how she was when they first started seeing each other—they would never get beyond kissing before she would shyly push him away and shake her head.
Now it’s usually her who initiates these things, usually by just a quick kiss to his cheek or nose what quickly gets out of hand, and say what you want, he swears to God that she plans these things out. He always accuses her of manipulating him afterwards and she just hums and distracts him in the best of ways, but sometimes she kicks him off the bed.
He doesn’t like getting kicked off his own bed.
She had been talking about how all her stuff is now located in his flat and how ridiculous it seemed because now that her parents were visiting she would have to move it all back in a haste because it was bad enough that she lived alone, but if they found that she spent more time upstairs than in her own apartment, they’d surely skin him.
"It’s a bit silly; how much they worry about me dating around," she touched his hand as he was thinking about how sad and empty his glass looked, "But I think I’ve found someone to settle down with."
He realised she was talking about him.
This made him nervous—he knew for a fact that if he didn’t say anything, she would make him help her move all her things back downstairs and his usual excuse of ‘oh my back’s hurting again’ wouldn’t work. He wasn’t sure about this at all.
She opened another bottle of Guinness
Still, he quite liked her company and she always smelled nice and was a very good friend to him over the years; it helped that she was pretty.
He took a long drink.
he is laying naked on top of me and clearly my most important mission in life is to kiss and kiss him until my lips bruise, and he doesn’t mind one bit.