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She woke up and the first thing she noticed was the sharp pain in her neck, beginning at the nape and moving its way down towards her lower back. Today it was this, yesterday it had been a numbness in her arm. She ignored it as she got out of bed and continued on with her morning routine. The entire time she brushed her teeth and fixed her mane, tangled from a night of tossing and turning, she never once met her eyes in the reflection of the mirror. She knew that if she did, she would break down again.
As she continued to go about her day, changing into her clothes and heading down to take her medication, it was as if her surroundings were a blur. Her head had a dull weight that was consistently pounding, and even though she had refused to actually look, she was certain her eyes were swollen and eye-bags prominent.
But she didn't care.
It was the same old routine, same old feeling of emptiness, and a deep yearning of something more that she could never attain.
It was when she was putting her half-empty glass of water back in the sink that the thought crept into her mind, and no matter how hard she tried to push it away again it just wouldn't go.
He hasn't texted me yet, she thought. He always did.
Or, in reality, he always had, before everything had changed. Her phone was in the back pocket of her jeans, where she would have felt it vibrate or ring. But it had done neither. Her heart dropped a little every time she thought about him. He was the only boy she had ever loved, who had turned into a man in the past few years and slowly crept away from her in all the ways that mattered.
They were supposed to spend the rest of their lives together. He had promised her that on their very first date. He had promised it again after their first kiss, and so on. It seemed like the years had passed in the blink of an eye, and she had somehow missed something. At some point, things had started to go wrong, and if she could just figure it all out then maybe, just maybe, she could fix it. Fix them.
She needed to get out, go do something, anything. But there was nowhere to be and no one to talk to. She thought back to the last time they had gone on a date and realized it had been about two weeks earlier, for his birthday. The night had been a short one, with them arguing over something she could barely recall, and him dropping her home after she had started to complain about his lack of response to her emotions. It seemed to her as if he was never there, not even when she felt alone and needed someone to be by her side.
He, on the other hand, got louder and louder with each word spoken, retaliating against her accusations by throwing his own. He told her she wasn't supportive, the way he needed her to be, and that no matter how hard he tried to make her happy, he knew he would never be able to.
Now, as she stood in her kitchen, clutching the back of her dining table's chair, she felt some sort of desperation rising from within. Why didn't he just understand her better? Why couldn't he see that she wasn't OK and that everyone she cared for had drifted away?
She pulled out her phone from her back pocket and opened up their chat from the night before. She read the last message that he had sent her again:
"I'm sorry for not being the person you need me to be. I'm sorry that I'll never be enough".
She read those lines over and over in her mind, and it broke her heart to admit to herself that perhaps he was right. Maybe he wasn't the one who could make her feel better. But she loved him so much. She wanted him, and no one else.
Her parents were both at work, and her brother will still asleep. The house was eerily quiet as she sat at the kitchen table and stared at her hands, unable to see clearly through the haze of tears accumulating in her eyes. Why did life have to be so complicated? she thought to herself for the hundredth time.
She wondered if she still talked to her friends from high school, would things be easier? She had never intentionally cut ties with anyone, however, that seemed to have happened gradually over the years anyway as they all moved on to new people, new jobs, and new lives. Her best friend was there, of course, but she had problems of her own and last time they had spoken, her friend had spent the entire phone call talking about her new job and the people who worked there.
It seemed everyone had something to do, everyone but her.
He was supposed to be her person. She had let go of people, because somehow it had seemed like the right thing to do at the time, considering she had him by her side. But he was drifting away too now, and she didn't know what to do.
It was hard to sleep at night, with all the negative thoughts running around inside her head. And when she did finally manage to fall asleep, it was in little episodes, with her waking up every hour or so.
Her phone rang and her heart jumped, bringing her back to the present. She stared down at the screen and the words written there. His words.
"Hey. How r u".
She didn't hesitate at all before she began to type a response.
"I'm okay. Can we talk?"
He began to type immediately as well, and her stomach turned while she waited to see what he would say. She hoped he wouldn't make an excuse, it would break her heart. She wanted to work things out. It had been too long since she'd seen him last.
His response came.
"I can't. I'm busy this week, I'll message later. Just wanted to make sure you're okay, bye."
He ended it off with a little heart emoji. And for the next several minutes, she stared at that emoji. It would keep her hope alive until he messaged again. It always did.
She went on with her day and the minute tasks that followed, a part of her brain numb as the hours passed. There wasn't a moment that went by where she didn't check her phone, or think about him. Think about them. She thought about the happier times, when the tension wasn't so harsh. She recalled the nights she had slept like a baby, dreaming of a future with him. She also remembered the nastier times, the times she had screamed in his face and told him that she could do better. She thought back to the times she had pushed his hand away, unable to bear his touch.
When the day turned to night, she stepped into her shower and turned on the hot water. She stood underneath the spray and cried until she could no longer tell how much time had gone by. When she was in her bed, she grabbed her phone again and thought about what to say to him.
"Goodnight", was all she could manage.
Eyes closed, hugging herself underneath the covers, she prayed. She prayed that she could make him understand that it wasn't really his fault. But then it wasn't hers either. She just wanted things to be better with them again, but deep down, she hoped she could feel better too. She didn't want to be so alone. She hated this feeling.
The feeling of something bad about to happen. She hated waiting for it, day in and day out, without it ever actually happening. It teased her so much that it had made her fear the very thought of ever being able to come to terms with her relationship. She knew he felt it too: Why else would he avoid her so?
Right before her thoughts turned into darkness and she succumbed to broken sleep, her phone buzzed.
"Goodnight. I love you".
It was all she needed to hear.