Unasked For, Unwanted

She has to come over to pick up her stuff in stages. She only has a small car, and a lot of stuff. I offered to pay for a van, but she shrugged, the way a person shoulders against the cold. Not like she noticed me offering at all.

Not like she notices any change in me.

It’s funny… I never really thought of it as love. I mean, I was closer to her than I’ve been to anyone, but I just never really thought about love.

I never noticed that being with her was any different than before being with her. I felt like the same person as before. I didn’t need anyone else to be myself. But I guess something happened, being with her.

She doesn’t look at me when she comes around. She isn’t rude, and we could probably talk, but it’s like she doesn’t really look at me.
I never needed anyone to see me before, but something must have changed.

You can never really remember what an argument was about, once that argument is over. That’s my experience of them anyway. I can’t remember what the row that made her decide to leave was about. I’m certain there was one, because why else would she make the decision to go?

But I’m drawing a blank.

It’s funny… I never really went looking for a girlfriend. Never really went looking for someone else to care about.

But life never does what you quite expect it to, where a woman is concerned. Sometimes she’ll be a siren, calling you on to the rocks. Sometimes she’ll be the rocks that you crash yourself against, over and over again until you can’t tell what’s left.

That’s the safest way I can think of to see it now, anyway.

I didn’t need anyone to look at me before her, but now that she doesn’t look at me any more, I’m seeing a change in me.

Every time I look in the mirror there’s less of me. Every time she walks past me in the hall, on her way to pick up whatever boxes are left, there’s less of me to pass.

I don’t mean I’m getting thinner, and I don’t mean I feel like less of a man.

I mean I’m slipping out of focus. My edges are blurring. She doesn’t notice when she comes, but at this rate, by the time the last box is gone, I’ll be gone too.

What do you do about that? How do you work up the energy to try and deal with an impossible problem? There are no self-help books for disappearing. A search of the web won’t find a single useful tip.

How do you deal with the idea that if a certain person isn’t looking at you, you’re no longer there?

You can’t do anything about it, is the answer. You can’t, and neither can I. So when she comes round, I make sure I stay out of the way, I make myself a cup of tea and try not to get upset. I don’t ask her not to go, because she’s already gone. I don’t ask her to stay, because she might say no.

And I try not to think too hard about not existing any more, because I don’t really remember what it was like existing before.

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Nicolas Papaconstantinou
Nicolas Papaconstantinou is an enthusiastic amateur creative type, and the chap behind Elephant Words. Be nice to him. He growed up kinda wrong.

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