“I love you.” She says it in her mind a million times, staring into the green eyes that had become so familiar to her. “Iloveyouiloveyouiloveyouiloveyou.” She thinks it again.
“I have to go,” The man says to her, giving her a light squeeze and a kiss on the forehead.
“Okay,” She says back, closing her eyes at the squeeze, the kiss.
He sits up and swings his legs over the side of the bed. His hands clutch the thin mattress and he hangs his head and sighs.
“What’s wrong?” She says.
“Nothing – it’s just that – ” He sighs again and runs his hand through his hair.
“It’s just that…?” She sits up now, too, and joins him on the side of the bed. She runs her hand through his hair, softly, lovingly. She lowers her head to try and make eye contact with him, but his eyes are closed.
“It’s just that… I’m not sure I’m ready for this.” His eyes are still shut.
“Ready for… What, exactly?” Her initial hurt has already turned into anger and her words come out quickly, with a harsh edge. It all seems vaguely unfair. “How can you not be ready for something you won’t even talk about?”
“I’m talking about it now.”
“You’re not even looking me in the eyes. That’s not talking, that’s stating.”
He opens his eyes and looks at her.
“Well?” She’s waiting for him to say something revolutionary.
“I’m just not feeling it anymore.”
“You’re not feeling it? Jesus Christ are you a fucking middle schooler?”
“I don’t know how else to say it, Jess. There’s nothing wrong with you or with us or with anything, really. I just… Don’t feel it anymore.”
“Then why did you just fuck me? Why’d you kiss me on the forehead? Why’d we go out to dinner last night?” Her harshness cracks into a sob. “I just don’t understand.”
She’s crying now, her face buried in her hands, her shoulders shaking.
His voice is quiet, almost unheard with the sniffles beside him.
“I didn’t know how to say it.”
“Well you picked a great fucking time now.”
“There’s never a right time, Jess, you said so yourself.”
“Yeah when I told you that I fucking loved you, Mike.”
“Loved?” His voice inflects at the ‘ed’ and a touch of hurt seeps through the indifference he’d been trying hard to exude.
And with that, he’s said something revolutionary.
“Yes,” She says. “Loved.”