I know everything’s wrong again when I find myself walking alone in the rain with no purpose. No real direction. My only intention, to keep walking – head bowed, hood up, trying in vain to cover my make-up streaked face and shield myself from the wind.
Shivering, I continue walking, trying to avoid eye contact with anything but the dirty sidewalk but I can see couples sitting in that Italian restaurant we went to a few weeks ago with the really bad seafood spaghetti. Friends are laughing, the wine in their hands dancing in their glasses. Young boys with their caps on backwards flip skateboards at the kerb, then jump on the nearest tram.
There’s too many lights here, too many faces.
I shove my hands in my pockets and shiver as my fingers brush the last two things I grabbed before leaving; a wad of tissues and my phone. It hasn’t rung yet. Do you care at all? I wonder what you’re doing. I wonder if you’re packing your things up, writing me a note, walking in the opposite direction. I wonder if you’re looking for me. I wonder if you’re tearing our apartment apart. I wonder if you will be there when I can’t walk anymore.
I curse myself for being so stupid. My mind’s in playback mode, going over every moment of the last hour just to torture me. I see your face twisted in rage and feel the tears on my cheeks. I hear the tone in your voice and remember my heart skipping a beat when you got too close. I pound the pavement, eyes down, knowing I cannot speak to anybody. Knowing that even just one word slipping across my tongue will give way to a tumbling waterfall of tears.
Then there is a café. I stand outside on the pavement with my face lit up in the warm glow from inside wanting desperately to get out of the cold. It all looks so inviting; the leather chairs, the miniature chocolates lined up neatly in the wooden display cabinet, the blackboards scrawled with specials and sentimental quotes. The comforting smell of hot chocolate hits me as I quietly push the door closed but the café isn’t warm and cosy like I’d hoped it would be. Too late to back out now – I manage to place a mumbled order and shrink into a corner.
When I find the bathroom, tucked at the back of the room, I am thankful for the privacy. I let the tears come hard, staring at myself in the mirror, wondering how I turned into this person, wondering how we finally turned each other into the people we hate the most but love the most at the same time. I leave my hands under the warm air of the dryer as I lean against the wall, exhaustion finally hitting me side-on and out of nowhere.
I have been away from home for so long that calling my family doesn’t even cross my mind. I have learned to muddle through on my own, scared that telling anyone that my life is less than perfect would make it all too real and holding my cards close to my chest, except with you. With you it’s perfect and imperfect. It’s all-encompassing love and soul-destroying hate. It’s a trap we’re both in and don’t have the courage to break out of.
Outside the café it is still raining. My cigarette lasts until the tram comes, its bell ringing through the night and I light another as I arrive outside our apartment and stand next to our broken letterbox stuffed full of junk mail left to rot in the rain unopened.
And then, as I push open the front door, there you are. You, with your beautiful blue eyes and the tattoo I don’t even like but love because it’s yours. I have loved you for five years, now I can hardly speak to you for five minutes. But I find myself in your arms, your body shaking against mine as I let the tears on my cheeks roll onto your shoulder, your chest, your face.
I know that eventually this will come to an end; when we have both acted out this episode one too many times, when it is too difficult to even try anymore. I know I will feel like I have lost a limb without you in my life. I know it will break my heart to see you cry as you pull your suitcase behind you, out of the door and out of my life.
But today, it’s just another fight.