If I hadn’t asked you to leave my home forever during our argument and you hadn’t actually left and that hadn’t actually been the definitive ending in our relationship…
We would have made up after our fight through kisses and hugs (and most likely tears from me). Somehow, some way, you would have convinced yourself that even though we had argued and things didn’t feel right, I was still your future. That you loved me. That I had been there for you through everything. You would have put all your doubts in the back of your mind.
I, similarly, would have compromised. Would have captured my conscience and put it in a tiny little box and hid it away, so that I couldn’t hear it say once again, “He’s not the one for you.”
I would have looked at you, at your lips that I had kissed for so long. I would have asked for a hug, and in your arms, I would have believed: “This is where I belong.”
And from there you would have gone back to work in Kansas and I would have returned to work and school in my current home in Texas. At the end of that year, you would have moved to where I lived. You would have found a job at one of the local colleges, coaching. You would have found a two-bedroom apartment, and as soon as my lease expired, I would have moved in with you.
The small group of friends that I had would have dwindled away as I began my life with you. For you would have no friends here. We would have relied on one another. And times would have been good, for the most part.
Nights would be filled with my cooking and my homework, and you would stay late at work for practice and going over film. That’s the compromise to our happiness, right?
Two years later, after I graduated, we would have married. Even though I hoped to have us do our own vows, I would give in to the traditional ones, because you wouldn’t have time to write yours and wouldn’t have wanted to anyways.
And though I hoped you would have kissed me with more passion after we said, “I do,” I would remember that you had lost the liking for public displays of affection such as hand holding—and I would have to understand because, well, that’s who you are and I would have loved you enough to let it go.
I would have even invited your friends to our wedding, the ones who you know I don’t like and who don’t like me, or is it better to say, we never got to know each other because you never let us? They came to congratulate us after the ceremony but they never gave me a smile, only you.
I would have lost you during the reception only to find you surrounded by friends and family, taking shots until you got so drunk that my bridesmaids and I had to help you to the limo. We wouldn’t have had sex that night.
Life would become routine. I would get a job, even though all I wished to do was write and do art, because it would have been one of the last things I would have held out on as I was always taught that no should take financial care of me but me. At nights, we wouldn’t touch, wouldn’t cuddle, and I would believe—this is what couples do. You’d tell me that it was normal too. It wouldn’t be making love anymore but rather sex. Great sex, but just sex.
You’d have tried to talk me into having kids. You always wanted a boy. I would have convinced you to wait until we were thirty and settled. It would have bothered you, but I would pretend I didn’t notice and would make it up to you by not complaining how you never helped cook or clean because you were “too tired” from work.
The kisses would soon feel forced and you would eventually stop putting your arm around me in a darkened movie theater or rubbing my feet if I placed them on your lap. “I love you,” would turn to, “Bye,” and if I asked why, you’d say, “Why do I have to say it if you already know I do?”
I’d still shower you with surprises, breakfast in bed, and massages in the evenings. We wouldn’t get out often. You’d always be tired, just wanting to relax in bed or on the couch with ESPN. I’d be bored out of my mind but wouldn’t go out alone.
I’d make excuses and tell myself I was okay sitting at the house all day. “You love him,” “You can’t change him,” “You are happy.” An endless reel.
You’d go out with your friends though or co-workers from work. When I’d ask how it went, you’d defensively say, “Why are you so nosy?” You’d also say this when I’d ask who was texting you at midnight. “Nothing important,” you’d reply. Which wasn’t what I had asked.
And I would constantly tell myself the same thing every day. This is love. Until one day seven years after we had married, when we were walking toward the mall, I would grab your hand, hold it like we used to when we first met and were in love. I would see your shoulders tense, and as if you meant to all along, you would let go and readjust your pants, and then continue walking without grabbing my hand.
I would stop and let you finally walk forever away from me.
Photo by Flood G. via Flickr