I am mad at him. I am fuming.
Lying on the edges of the bed, trying to melt into the cold wall and clutching the duvet tight in my fist lest I start banging it against something, I try to control my breathing and stay immobile. I am not going to say anything. He knows.
Hours earlier, I asked if we can go out for dinner, to celebrate my finishing of my degree, my leaving of a crappy job, my getting an interview, my return. He said no, and attached a couple of excuses, like being tired, not having clean clothes, not being in the mood. He said we’ll get take away and that’s that. His word is final, after all – compromise, as such, doesn’t exist.
I left him, trying not to bang the car door, to meet another for a few hours, to purge his cannot be arsed attitude from my mind and make the most of my visit. A text came saying he would pick me up, and we could go for dinner, just let him know when, but feel free to take my time. It was quarter past six when I sent him a message that I was ready, and he said he would be there in ten minutes. Half an hour later, sitting in his car, seeing how he hasn’t washed or changed in the past three hours, I try not to get mad. He tells me I messed it up, taking so long, he was so hungry he started to have dinner at home and was halfway through it when I texted. Now, thanks to me, he had to leave it half finished to come running.
I say nothing – it is, after all, my fault that he told me he would pick me up, and I took my time as he told me. I message another on facebook, a little thrill, a little smile only i know about, perfectly aware that me being on my phone will piss him off. And it does, he comments how I’m on facebook, not even talking to him. So I tell him I’m sorry for interrupting his dinner, unsure whether he ever understands sarcasm but at least enjoying my own inside joke.
He tells me we are not going out, what a surprise, but he offers a choice between two different take-aways, how generous. We go back to his place and each get our laptops, tapping and clicking away in our respective worlds that only crossed paths really for a moment of reckless irresponsibility, and have been trying to untangle ever since. The third screen of his TV joins us, and I try to drown out the noise of some sad storage hunters by putting on Liszt. He’s not impressed, as I should have known, and asks me to turn that awful noise off. He starts a game on his laptop, and the cacophony of the TV mixing with the various sounds from our laptop echo my discontent. He tells me to plug in my ear phones, and of course, I refuse. He tells me it shows I’ve been away for a year, by myself – I am turning into myself. Not wanting to dissect how each and every word he says is eroding what I’ve been fighting to become in my whole life, I finally plug my earphones in, and turn the volume up, the orchestra shutting his stupid game and the telly out, my eyes fixed on my book to avoid seeing his face.
I am ungrateful, I know – he allowed me to crash in his place, he picked me up, drove me around, ordered me food… But is it worth saving the taxi fare and the room booking, if I pay by listening to being belittled on every turn?
The food arrives and I try to be civil, small chit chat over greasy chips and donner, and I keep thinking how the previous night, I told him more about why I left home in one word than I ever have in the past five years, and instead of prompting me or just feigning interest, he couldn’t keep his eyes away from a Nazi documentary.
We eat, and I change in the disgusting bathroom that bears the mark of three unkempt men sharing a pad. I am tired, and I climb into bed, some Russain documentary all washed together in front of my contact lens free eyes. I turn to the wall, and try to hold my pieces together, try to keep my heart from falling apart as I think about how nice it would be just to be held, to share a bed willingly instead of knowing I am being a nuisance. He turns to his side, away from me, but I cling to the duvet, unwilling to give up at least its warm comfort.
I am not sure how many minutes pass by, it may be five or twenty, but my ever overworking mind’s worries are interrupted by the drifting sounds of the neighbours shouting. A lover’s quarrel, turning ever nastier, and harsh words are shouted in the ether, the thin walls unable to keep the noise from travelling to unintended ears.
I hear the man’s angry words, the woman’s defending shouts, and I turn towards him, knowing how it must be reminding him of his unpleasant childhood, his parents fighting, doors banging. I am not sure if he is reassuring himself, or me, when he turns to lie on his back instead of facing away from me, but I know I cannot be so heartless as to not offer at least something, and continue lying there like two strangers, or worse, two people who once were close and now share a bed out of necessity after a grumpy evening.
I fall asleep, knowing in the morning I will wake to an empty bed, heart aching over things that never were and maybe never will be, aching over guilt and knowing I am not mourning it because it wasn’t meant to be with him, but because he at least had a chance and decided to pass, while He will never even be able to share a bed with me.