Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 38

to start talking about forever. I loved her immensely as a person, but it wasn't clear to me how intimate we really were. Sometimes I didn't get her at all. Sometimes it felt like there was something else I wanted from her, but I couldn't quite articulate what it was. I started to think that the only reason we had sustained so long was that we were both too easy-going―the lack of fights masked what was an imperfect relationship, one where we didn't really understand each other.

She might have known it was coming. Maybe I'm only imagining this post hoc, but in the weeks when I pulled away, she stepped forward into the empty space, asking me what was wrong, doing sweet little things for me, holding onto me tightly in her sleep.

I remember sitting in the living room―the one where we had danced at the housewarming―the day I broke up with her. But first we were watching TV and she kept saying stuff and I guess I wasn't really responding. She withdrew, quietly upset, sinking back into the pillows. I had had my doubts, teetering on the brink of a decision for weeks. But I looked over at her in that moment and I knew; I knew at that exact moment that I had made a decision and that I needed to pull the trigger.

She had a lock of hair that frequently fell into her eyes, and she had a habit of nodding her head quickly to get it off her face. She did this then, still staring at the TV, and I remember the first time I noticed that habit. It was on our third date and I had walked her to her car. Neither of us were drunk, and without the social lubricant of alcohol I obsessed about whether or not to kiss her. I wanted to―I felt totally hypnotized by her―but she was standoffish, not as physically flirty as most other women I had been on dates with, so I couldn't read her.

She was leaning against her car, laughing at something I said (really just an extension of a joke she had made herself). We looked at each other, and I was standing pretty close to her, and she said, “Oh this is very awkward,"

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