06. “I don’t love you anymore.”

I hear you rummaging through the kitchen as you do every morning, always looking for that pot and that cup. Just by the sound of your movements, I know whether or not you are in a good mood. Right now you are absently humming a melody which I am not familiar with. As I lay in our bed, I think of how much I love the sound of your voice, how much I love hearing you laugh. The bedside clock tells me it is eight in the morning. I know that in a few minutes you will come back to our bed, your steaming cup of coffee in one hand and my newspapers in the other. I will pretend to be asleep, and you will slowly lean over me and wake me up with a kiss. You will offer me your coffee, of which I will take a sip and then you will tell me how great today will be. You will take place by my side in our bed, and we will snuggle for another hour. You will tell me that you love me, and I will tell you that I do too. The truth is, I don’t think we ever stop loving the person we once fell in love with. I think we just transform our love into different – other feelings. Right now, at this moment, although I know I will tell you that I love you, I wish I could tell you the truth. This truth: I don’t love you anymore, I want to leave you and move on with my life. Of course, I know I will never tell you this and you will never really know how I feel. It’s not because I am afraid of what might or might not happen, or that I am a coward. It is because I cannot bear in mind to cause you grief. I love the sound of your voice, how happy you look when we are together. I love how everything seems easy and looks beautiful to you. Even I. The man who cannot tell you how much he wants to leave you. The man who lives this life, just so that you can be happy. Because if you are happy, then that makes me less of an asshole, does it?

Sometimes I catch you staring at me, with your cats eyes. They seem to tell me “I know everything”. Do you though, know? Behind all your compliments, your smiles, your projects for us… do you know how I really feel? Who I really am? I don’t know if I want you to. Maybe the real problem isn’t that I don’t want to hurt you. Maybe I am afraid my life will fall apart and lose its meaning the moment I release you from my hold. I know it’s selfish, but I am human. I have to hold on to something, and so I hold on to you, like one holds on to a lifeline. When you take my hand in the middle of a conversation, as to reassure me that everything will be ok, I remind myself of all the reasons that led me to love you that first day of September. We were so young then. You studied creative writing and I was writing my Ph.D. thesis. You couldn’t stop talking about these dreams you had and which had to mean something. Because no one dreams just for the sake of dreaming, do they? You were so convinced that if one only desired happiness, then happy they should be. I think hearing you say that over and over, as if it was some sort of mantra, turned me into a believer. I remember that I couldn’t stop from hearing you talk. And your laugh. It has always been my downfall. Your secret weapon of which you are not even aware of. After all, you are always up there, somewhere, always chasing happiness the way people chase butterflies in the summer. Only now, I tune you out. Most of the time, I have no idea what has been said. Your lips move in front of me, and no sound seems to reach me. I want to shout “I am done! I am leaving you!” but I find myself trapped. When you hold my hand in yours, I try really hard, to get back to you. I try to find all those things that made us “us”. And so I share your laugh, I bring you peonies – because they are your favorites, I pay for those vacations you plan all year round for us. And I keep hoping that one day, I will again feel that spark that turned me into a believer. While I wait for it to happen, I will continue to make you happy, be the man you think I am, the one you vowed to be with until death do us apart.

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