I am here. Wide awake, when I should be sound asleep. All alone, when I should be with you. Your scent still lingers on the pillow next to me, and I pull it closer to me. It makes me safe. Safer than I am without you by my side. I want to inhale it and bring you back to me. I am not ready to let go.
I knew that this would happen sometime soon. I knew, that one night, I would wake up, and you would be gone. That night is now. You promised you would never leave me. But you broke your promise. You did this to us.
I came home, and your bags were packed, ready at the door. You said you would go back to your mom’s until I found a new place to stay. But where am I supposed to stay? I don’t have the right to work here. I don’t have much money left and the friends – they are yours, not mine. Not one of them will offer me a couch to sleep on, because no matter how you’ll twist and turn it, I’ll stay the stranger, the foreign woman, who gave up everything for you. You couldn’t look at me when you walked out of the door, and I refused to scream and shout at you. I refused to call you back. I refused to cry in front of you.
Maybe that was my biggest mistake. Maybe I should have fought for you. Maybe I should have asked what was going on and where it all went wrong. I didn’t even think about it. I just saw you and your bags and the determination in your eyes. And the sadness too. I let you go, and it broke my heart.
It’s the middle of the night, and I am still clutching your pillow. I don’t want this to end. I am not ready to let you go. In the spur of the moment, I grab the phone and dial your number. I take a deep breath and sit up straight. I pull your pillow onto my lap and straighten the cover around my legs. On the third ring, you pick up and for a moment, I am speechless. No words are ready to be said.
“It’s me.” I finally say, still running my hand over imaginary creases in the sheets.
“I know,” you say. I wish I could hear more hope in your voice. Instead, I hear weariness and sadness.
“What happened?” I ask, coming straight to the point.
“Everything. Nothing. I am dried up,” you confess and, wouldn’t I know what you are talking about, I wouldn’t understand. But I do. You have lost your creativity. The worst possible scenario for a painter. You haven’t touched a brush since I am here. I am not keeping you from your work, at least not consciously, but you don’t paint anymore.
“Is it my fault?” I ask, dreading the answer. Maybe it is my fault. Maybe it’s the natural way of creativity. It’s like a wave, sometimes all consuming and there and other times only barely tangible. Almost nonexistent.
“Maybe,” you whisper, and I can feel the tears burning in my eyes. I knew it, but I didn’t want to hear it. I am confident that I will never win your heart over your art. You live, breathe, sweat for your art. I can’t win this war. And I shouldn’t want to see it as a war. It’s a part of you. One I fell in love with, too.
“I don’t want you to go,” I finally say, after a short silence that was heavy on the line.
“I don’t know what to do. It’s all I can do. I am good at it.” I can practically see you running your hand over your bald head. Back and forth, feeling the stumbles underneath your fingertips.
“I know. I know.” I whisper, and I can feel you pulling away even further from me. You are slipping through my fingers, and there is nothing I can do.
“I can’t sleep without you by my side. I never thought that I would be addicted to you like this,” you say, and I feel the same. It gives me a little hope. I can’t sleep without feeling your body close to mine and hearing your rhythmic breaths.
“But I am draining you. Why can’t I be a source of energy for you? Why can’t I inspire you?” I don’t want you to answer. I don’t want you to crush my heart even more.
“I don’t know. I wish I would know,” you sound as if you are crying now and I long to hold you. I don’t want to make you miserable. I want to make you happy. I don’t want to make you sad. I want to bring you joy. But I am not ready to let go. Not yet. I let go of too many things lately. You are not one of them. I refuse to let you be one of them.
“Can I come home?” Your question pierces through my thoughts, and I don’t know what to say. I smile – no, grin – I want to say so many things, but there is a big lump in my throat, and it prevents the words to roll off my tongue. Not even a sound comes out. I panic. What if you take my silence as a ‘no’? You clear your throat while I still struggle to make a sound. Tears wet my cheeks. Happy tears, because you are coming back. Soon. It won’t be like it used to be and I know that. Everything will change between us, and yet, I crave your touch and your kiss. I need you to take me into your arms and pet my hair gently. I like it when I lean my head against your shoulder, and your hand racks through the lengths of my hair. It soothes me.
“Yes,” I finally croak.
Before anything else can be said, you are gone. There’s only the familiar sound audible. Disconnection. I look at the phone as if it could answer all those unasked questions. What happened? Where are you? The beep sounds mocking, and I put the phone face down on my the nightstand. What did I do?
I rub my face with my hands. So much drama over nothing. But how am I supposed to make your creativity come back? There is nothing I can do.
Not even five minutes later, I hear your key in the lock of the front door. I run my hands through my hair, to flatten it a bit. It’s a silly move, but it makes me believe, that I look much better now than before. I wait. Patiently. Nervously. The bedroom door opens, and you are back.
You sit on the bed, wringing your hands, looking down at your feet. They are naked. I come closer to you. Putting a kiss on your shoulder, resting my head on it.
“I am sorry.”
“Don’t give up on me. Not yet.” I whisper, and you turn in my arms. Together, we curl up in a ball under the sheets. You are still dressed. It doesn’t matter. You are back. You put his head on my chest and listen to my heartbeat. I kiss your head. Our fingers entwine, and we stay silent. Eventually falling asleep like this. Nothing is as it was before. It will never be the same, but which direction it all will go – I don’t know. In my heart, I know that you are not back for good. Someday soon, you will be gone. And I will be alone.