I knew we were over a year ago. The moment happened when the little clock in the kitchen chimed to bring in the New Year and we kissed underneath the little sprig of mistletoe I held above our heads and my heart didn’t race. My heart did the opposite, beating interminably slow, marking each second my lips sought yours and mocking the indifference simmered inside me. Your eyes were screwed shut and your brows were furrowed, you were searching from something from my lips that wasn’t there anymore. I didn’t close my eyes. I was too afraid my mind would wander and I’d forget where I was and what I was supposed to be doing.
You opened your eyes and smiled ruefully, “Happy New Year my love.”
I felt myself get hard as I watched you prance around our bedroom in your new lingerie. I couldn’t really call it lingerie, edible panties and chocolate fondant as icing over your nipples was all that hid your body from me. Not that I hadn’t seen it before. I’d explored each mound, descended into every depth and found treasure in peak and crevice. I’d made you howl from the sheer force of your orgasms and made you whimper as I taunted you with my tongue and fingers. It used to give me such fulfilment, discovering new ways to pleasure and sate you. But now, I lie in bed and pretend to be asleep when the door clicks and you walk in from work. I finally grew tired of your teasing and called you into bed. I kissed your nipples and licked off the fondant clean, simply because I didn’t want to sleep in a sticky bed. I found my way south, pushed aside your panties and lapped you up, slowly bringing you to a peak before I slid into you and tided you over. You held onto me, flushed and panting and I smothered you with kisses. I stroked your hair and coaxed you to sleep, but it offered me none of the comfort even the slightest intimacy used to. The times when just the warmth of your skin next to mine motivated me to pull you close seemed like a distant memory. I laid there with you in my arms and sobbed. I didn’t love you anymore.
“Happy Valentine’s day.” I whispered.
Your family had us over. It was my third year and all of the awkwardness of sitting beside a man who knew you regularly parted his daughter’s legs was all but a residual unease. I sat beside your brother and his heavily pregnant wife, she’d piled her plate high with food but could barely eat any of it. We shared wine and flat bread and spoke about the war between Palestine and Israel as you and your sister traipsed in and out of the kitchen, bringing in meals and taking out empty dishes. The twins gobbled up everything that was put in front of them, jabbing each other in the gut and squabbling for the last piece of turkey in the dish. They didn’t care that everyone was watching them make a nuisance of themselves. Your mother finally came in, sweaty from four hours over the stove and kissed me on the cheek. It made me smile. She always nuzzled me like that and made me my cheeks burn in embarrassment. Her smile and the way her eyes crinkled reminded me so much of you. I genuinely loved her, and each one of them that you called family.
“When are you going to add a wedding band to that huge rock you have on my daughter’s hand?” your mom teased and the table erupted in laughter.
“No need to rush them ma.” Your father quipped. “You already have a grand kid on the way.”
I gave a wry smile and buried my face in my food. I didn’t want to see the look on your face. I already knew what I would see. There wouldn’t be any of the worry and hope that was there last year, just the silent resignation that an engagement ring didn’t really assure anything, not anymore. Your mother called for a toast, you smiled and declined. There were dishes to be done and you weren’t in the mood for wine. But you were running away from having to face me in front of your family.
“Yom Kippur!” We all cheered and clinked glasses.
We had our first fight in years yesterday. Can’t remember exactly why it started. We traded words; I said quite a few I didn’t mean. You screamed at me and begged me to stop, I could see the frustration well up in your eyes and pour out as angry tears but I couldn’t stop myself. I brought up things the time you’d flirted with my friend and the pregnancy scare, the first time you pit me up against your parents and how they riddled me with questions and made me feel really small. I dug up all the old skeletons and rubbed our scabbed wounds raw. You grabbed the glass mug your mother had gotten us last Christmas from the kitchen sink and threw it at me. I didn’t see it in time to duck. Actually I did, but I never believed you’d actually aim to hit. It left a welt on my temple and you came to yourself and fetched ice from the fridge. Your face was blanched, but not from the horror of the swelling on my face but from the realisation that you could actually bring yourself to hurt me. For the first time, I saw the resignation that resided in me, mirrored in your face.
“I’m sorry.” You said as you applied the ice, but we both knew you didn’t mean it.
You have waited a thousand years, perhaps a million for me to grow up. I feel like I have already waited a lifetime for you to accept that I wasn’t going to change. You lie, nestled in a fort of bed sheets and the duvet we loved to curl under, sobbing softly. Every impulse I have is to leave the pile of clothes I am painstakingly folding and mold myself into you. I steel myself and fold each shirt, straightening out every single crease, focusing on that and droning out your silent pleas for my attention. It’s over this time, finally, truly. Packing depressed me, my clothes smelled of you, your musk, your tears, your frustrations. You sat up and turned to me, gathering up the sheets to cover your nakedness, even though five minutes before I rode inside of you. You watched in resignation as I packed the souvenirs of our life together into my duffel and zipped it up. And I broke down beside the bed, months of guilt and self-loathing bubbling up to the surface. Dry retches racked my prone form and you watched on, unsure of what to do, or say. I was the one who was leaving and even then I had reversed the roles on you. I grew silent on the cold floor as my body tired of giving my mind release. I stood up and pulled on my briefs and a pair of trousers. I buttoned up my shirt and hefted my duffel onto my shoulder. You spared me one last soul searching glance and turned away, the emptiness in my face was too much for you to bear, not an ember was left of the raging inferno you used to ignite in me. The cold in the street was numbing but warmer than the chill of our bedroom in that last minute. Your bedroom now, I lost my right to it, and you, the moment I left.