"I need to tell you something." She said. He could see that she was nervous. Her fingers, long and thin, twisted the strands of her hair like a young girl nervous before a recital. She repeatedly cleared her throat. Swallowing over and over. He waited patiently to see what she would reveal to him.
"I....I mean...I know you don't want to hear it, but I really must tell you something."
He couldn't fathom what she'd possibly have to say. He sat upright on the couch and gave her every ounce of attention. He trained his eyes on her. They were large, brown, and intense. Unknowingly, he caused her more anxiety with every passing minute that he held her gaze. She secretly begged him to look away.
But, he couldn't hear her thoughts.
And that was the problem. He couldn't understand her words. He didn't speak her language. He had trouble reading in between the lines of what she was trying to say and what really wanted to say, but lacked the courage to do so. Because of this, she viewed their communication as broken. Incomplete. He thought everything was fine.
Yet, it wasn't. He caused her pain. Whenever he spoke, small piercing jolts of pain made their way to her heart. Blood pumped a little bit faster in her veins. Her palms became sweaty. Her tongue thickened inside her mouth. She constantly had to close her eyes and bite her lip to prevent herself from crying. He thought himself candid. Honest. She found him to be hurtful. Confusing. An enigma of a man that would forever remain unsolved.
She didn't know what to do. How to proceed with her days in this ball of confusion that he'd wrapped her in.
"See, it's just that, well..."
"Go ahead." He urged her. "I'm listening. What is it?" He tried to speak quietly. Soften the tone of his voice that he knew could be harsh at times. He hoped that she'd see him as ally and not a threat.
"I adore you. That's it. I adore you completely. I'm not in love with you. Not really. Too soon for that. There's still too much to know about you. About the way you operate through life. But, I adore you. I think about you every day. I worry over you. I wonder if you're happy. That's really important to me, you see. Because if you're not happy then there's no way that I could ever be."
She hoped she was making sense. She prayed that she wasn't driving him away. She wanted to reach out and touch him. Sooth out the wrinkles in his shirt. Hold his had. Inhale his cologne. She wanted to make him dinner and then watch him flip through the channels of the tv. She wanted to do every mundane task possible together. She wanted to hear his breathing at night. Feel him rustle the covers as he switched sides during sleep. She fought the need to check on him throughout the day. Was there anything he needed? He desired? She wanted more than anything to provide these things.
But, he wanted no part of it. He provided for himself. He saw to his own needs and it had been that way for years. His reluctance to allow her to be what she knew she could be for him was hurting her more than she cared to admit. With her new found revelation of adoration, she risked alienating him. She'd been thinking about this for quite some time. Should she stay in the background, always clutching her heart with one hand while forcing a smile on her lips with the other? Or should she go for the gust-o and come clean with how she felt?
What made the decision for her was a simple realization. A pause in her routine. She had awoke one morning. The sun had yet to rise on the horizon and the occupants of her house still slept. She'd felt the stillness all around her. It was a sense of loneliness, a sort of heavy quiet, that kept her seated on the edge of her bed. It was concrete. Permanent and unwavering. She came to the conclusion that her life would always have that edge of nothing to it. She'd forever be what she was. A mother and a friend. A daughter. A family member of some sort. But, she would never be the love of someone's life. This last thought made her knees lock in place. And as she sat there, she began to cry. Not loudly and without sobs. The tears slipped down her cheeks in the same hushed manner that her heart broke in.
Her confession to him was her last attempt at something in her life. Something other than the extensions of herself which drove her to live everyday. Something that was all her own. A separate creature that would love and appreciate her for being the woman she had grown into. And not a mother that nature had turned her into.
The clock ticked away the minutes. They both stared at one another. Him, sitting on the couch, looking into her soul and contemplating her meaning. Her, standing in the middle of the room, palms sweaty, wishing she could rewind time and erase the words that she'd just spoken.
When at last he cleared his throat, he could do nothing but speak the truth. His truth. "I'm sorry. I can't. We shouldn't be friends anymore."
The weight of the silence after he left crushed her. She cried out as loud as she could. But, there was no one around to hear.