So many things you said last night. This word is the one I will remember. You said you didn't mean it, or you didn't use the correct word. It was when I asked you what I could possibly do to hurt you. You asked me the same. I said if you betrayed me, if you proved me right all along, that you were not an exception. What I could do to hurt you, you said was if we broke up. That was inevitable, you said. And of course there I was, heart on my sleeve, aghast. Did that mean you meant for this to be temporary from day one? If our break-up is 'inevitable.' I have been telling you all this time, we went through this the wrong way. That it was very emotional from day one. That I went all out. Maybe even you - what you are capable of giving, at this juncture in your recovery, you also gave - without question. But then as I sat crying, you took it back. And again you said you didn't use that word. Repeatedly you denied. And then when I said I didn't hear wrong, you said you didn't mean it, if you had said it.
On the one hand you said something else the other day, in your rush to reassure me because of another unintended hurt, because I am so over-sensitive these days, you said 'I adore you' and then quickly corrected yourself and said 'I adore how you look.' Is it your unconscious, I wonder. On the one hand you say - one day at a time. On the other maybe you expect an end? Or, you are afraid to hope to see beyond what we have now because, as you said, you don't know what kind of person you will be a year or two from now?
You said your core beliefs are forever shaken, that you always thought you could care for your late wife, but in the end you could not. Who are you, after all these past eight years, but her husband? And now that she is gone - what is left of you? You said you were broken. It is the first I had ever heard you say. You're rebuilding yourself, and your life.
And then you did the unexpected. You said that I would never know what it means to you that I am part of your healing process, that I am important. You said you were not asking for pity or empathy. This was why you could never treat our relationship as a frivolity, that it is mere distraction. You were earnest then, glassy-eyed. I thought you would cry. I had never seen you like so - open and vulnerable. When we made our way to the MRT I was loathe to part and suggested you take me home with you. For the nth time we broke our so-called attempts at abstinence. It was perfect though, even the debate with J about murdering people in Pakistan. In your bathroom, you wrapped your arms around me as I brushed my teeth with your worn-out toothbrush. I was struck by how pale I looked, next to you. But we looked right together, I thought. We looked in love. The sex was not it has ever been before. For the first time, it was tender.