It’s been two minutes since he last told me he loved me.
My heart is aflutter, my cheeks still flushed. It’s not the first time he’s said it, we’ve been together for a while now. He holds me in his arms, cradling my head as he looks down upon my face. We stand swaying in his kitchen, his old rusty radio whispering out a raspy melody into the evening air.
It’s been three days since he last told me he loved me.
My heart is content, my head is calm. Jagged Saturday sunlight pierces through the curtains and I sit up in bed. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and squint over at the clock. 10:38AM. Still another hour before either of us need to be anywhere, I think to myself. I look down at the man asleep next to me, facing away and clutching his pillow. Slowly reclining back, I stare at the ceiling, before rolling over and curling my body into the arch of his back. He mumbled a good morning, before we both drifted back to sleep.
It’s been a week since he last told me he loved me.
We walk through the park hand in hand, my mind matching sights and places to memories we’ve shared together – the tree we hid under that one time the rain snuck up on us, the flowerbed next to where we had our first date, the lake he jokingly nearly pushed me in on our anniversary. I ramble on, words falling from my mouth as easily as ever. He stays quiet, eyes forward and keeping a brisk pace. I don’t mind, we all have quiet days. I keep talking to fill the silence.
It’s been 20 days since he last told me he loved me.
The movie starts just as I walk over to the couch, bowl of popcorn in hand. I sit down next to him, and snuggle into his shoulder. He drapes his arm around me and I close my eyes, just wanting to enjoy the moment. The film rolls, and half way through I slide my head down and rest it in his lap. I fall asleep to him stroking my hair amidst the soundtrack of gunshots and yelling.
It’s been two months since he last told me he loved me.
We sit across from each other at the dinner table. I extend my right hand out, laying it in front of him. He gingerly places his hand over mine and squeezes tight. I let out a tiny sigh of relief, just the warmth of his hand still able to soothe my nerves. I look into his eyes, the once-romantic silence starting to feel heavier and heavier.
It’s been four months since he last told me he loved me.
I walk home in the rain alone, my broken umbrella abandoned in a puddle about 3 blocks back. Tears run down my face, masked to the world by the downpour. My mind does nothing but replay the last few hours. As I tore at my hair and cried, as he stood stoically in silence. That Goddamn silence. It would be the death of us.
It’s been six months since he last told me he loved me.
I close the door behind me, dropping my keys in the silver bowl as I walk into my studio apartment’s living room. My bag is flung to the sofa, followed shortly by my jacket. Shoes kicked off as I walk into the bedroom and I fall back onto the bed. I reach into my pocket, retrieve my phone and bring it to my face. I bring his last messages up onto the screen. The final straws, the one that broke what little we had left. Tears stream down the sides of my face as it washes over me what is happening. It’s over, I keep telling myself. It’s over.
It’s been 8 months since he last told me he loved me.
As I walk the streets still I see his face on strangers. I catch his scent as the rush of passers by emerge from the train, and all at once I am brought back a year, to his musty kitchen and his rusty radio. I’m left standing in that moment all on my lonesome. Swaying to the music, arms around my own body as I hold on to something that is no longer there. It disappears as soon as it came, and I am left standing solitary in a crowd full of people. I am not lonely, but in these moments I feel so very alone.
It’s been a year since he last told me he loved me.
I walk into my house, grocery bags in one hand, a bouquet of flowers in the other. I toss my keys in the bowl, and get to work on putting things away. At last I get to the flowers, a bright yellow bunch of daffodils, and place them in a vase. My phone buzzes, and I do not think of him. I go and sit down on the sofa, turning on the TV. A deep sigh escapes me and the first smile in a long time finds it’s way to my lips. Things were going to be okay, because he may not love me, but at long last, I was starting to learn how to.