“I don’t love you anymore.”

I sat there, spacing out to the middle-distance. I felt my left eyelid twitch a few times, before subsiding. I nodded.

“It’s not anything you did,” she continued. “I just feel like we’ve both started growing in different directions. Drifting apart. And I know how sad you are when I’m busy with work and never around. It’s just not fair to you.”

That makes sense, so you’re taking yourself away completely. Sure. I picked up my tea mug and held it, though the liquid was already cold. I noticed that my right thumbnail had chipped a little. I’m going to have to fix that this weekend, I thought in passing.

“Ever since I got this promotion, I’ve been swamped with new projects and meetings. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, this is my dream. But I just don’t think it’s gonna give me much room for relationships right now. I’m really sorry, Kate.”

Was there a mosquito bite on my shoulder blade? Crap, there totally was. I could feel the incessant itch starting to grow the more I thought about it. Just out of reach too – if I tried to get at it, I’d strain my shoulder. Damn it.

“Listen, I know you’re probably furious or in shock or whatever… just… promise me you’ll call me to talk about this later? I know you’re going to need to get this off your chest. I really never wanted to hurt you, that’s the last thing I want, you know that, don’t you?” Her voice filled with tears, though it wasn’t clear if she actually felt sorry or just wanted to get the guilt out of her system.

“I’ll always love you, in a way,” she mused. “It’s just, not as the One, my person. As soon as I figured it out, I had to tell you. It’s the right thing to do,” she convinced herself.

I lay back and slowly let my eyes trace the string fairy lights I’d put up around my room. Up and down, gentle waves, over the door frame and window, past the lamp and three potted plants, around the photos of us from the last five years. Looping around and around, the room felt like it was spinning, bright and crowded.

I heard the door close, in the distance. I wanted to lift my head to take a look, but the lights had me mesmerized. Up and down, winding and twisting, pulling me by my chest toward the ceiling till I came to a halt, wrapped in a cocoon of lights. No escape, but in a comforting way. No escape… I closed my eyes and let it squeeze me till my heart stopped.

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