He can’t look at her. They are standing at opposite ends of the living room and the silence is oppressive and heated. They are standing at opposite ends of the living in room in the house they so carefully picked out, so slowly furnished, amongst the mingling minutiae of their lives and he can hardly bear to be in the same room as that blanket. He can’t remember if it came from her apartment or his.
“I thought I…” could love you forever, could stay here, could make this work could stop wanting to leave. She shatters the silence, the words getting caught in the spider web of cracks branching out from that place where she used past instead of present tense. He thought she gave up weeks ago, but now he’s not so sure. Maybe it was just a few seconds ago that this thing between them grew bigger than their house and their shared toothbrushes.
He’s half tempted to walk out right now and never look back. There is something raggedly offensive about her red rimmed eyes and the way she’s wrapped herself up in some oversized sweater that probably was never his although they both liked to pretend it was. She’s holding a mug filled with peppermint tea. He could hear her making it, hear the whistle of the kettle as he slammed around upstairs trying not to tell her that he hates her for doing this to him.
He does. He hates her. He hates her for falling in love with him. He hates her for the perfect tiny outdoor wedding she designed for them, for the cold winter nights spent curled on the couch watching old episodes of MASH, for building up these sweet quiet spaces between them when she knew – she had to have known even then that she couldn’t stay.
Mostly he hates her because he loves her and she’s going to leave tomorrow and she’s going to let him keep the house.
“I thought we could too.” Is all he says after a few minutes of dull quiet. He’d spent the past few days (weeks? months?) wondering when this became work, wondering if he could pinpoint the exact moment he had to work at being near her, had to work at being home in this place where every movement felt like it rubbed up against something, pushed something out of the way to make room.
There are a million conversations that they will have after this. A million questions about their bank accounts and telling their friends. Her sister will come sit with him sometime tomorrow. They were friends first. His sister will probably yell at him out of some misplaced affection. They will divide out their CDs and she will take her books and probably that blanket. They’ll need to get separate email addresses.
But just then, in that moment it felt like he had said all the words he was ever going to say. She didn’t love him enough to stay. He didn’t love her enough to go.