It strikes me that no one really talks about falling out of love. We speak around and about the moment something breaks. We speak of betrayal. Of the line that divides before and after. But we do not talk of how if often happens just as you fell in into it: slowly, steadily, decision by decision, gentle realization after gentle realization, unfolding and unfurling.
I suppose it is a restructuring of sorts. An alchemy of transforming memories from sharp shards to heavy, rounded stones that you then submerge in the murky waters of doubt. How it is second look after second look, choosing to put an end to the excuses you once made on his behalf. Excusing how he remembered nothing. Not a damn thing. And how that made you feel small and unimportant. How there was that time standing in front of the fridge that you watched as he pulled out a bottle of white wine. I don't know when this was opened, he had said. I don't know if it's still any good. How in that moment you chose not to say: It was two weeks ago. With me. You opened it with me, two weeks ago. His non remembrance, a betrayal. A small line. And your silence.
How you must decide to no longer gloss over the fissures. How you allow the angular nature of the narrative to elbow out a new story. More true than before. And less true too.
Because you know why he couldn't remember and you can't fault him for that. Sadness does funny things. Tricks of light and the mind and its memory.
The thing is--what keeps resurfacing--is the memory of that time he fell asleep his full face pressed up again the side of your cheek and you weren't sure how he could even breathe. It was such an act of defiance on his part. An act of affection for a girl who never slept all tangled legs and arms, but kept to her side of the bed. And for that little rebellion alone, you will love him. But you must choose not to love him now. So you tuck that away. For a later day when your own face is pressed into the valley of a different neck. Not better, but different.
And how falling out of love now is learning to accept kindness from others. From the man who does remember--the man with a memory that rivals yours--the terror and excitement this incites. From the man who takes the time to respond despite his busy schedule, who fills the mornings with an offer of coffee or tea. The man you sleep soundly next to because you're not afraid that at any moment he might disappear.
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