“Do you love me? I’d ask.
I imagine she would look at me. “Of course I do…how can you even ask that?”
And then I would sit there in silence for a bit. I would think about everything that’s changed. Everything and nothing.
For me, she is everything. she is the person I wake up thinking about, the last person to cross my mind before I go to bed. When I hold her, I am holding the woman I love.
Lately, though, when I trail my fingers lightly down her back or across her shoulders I don’t get the same reaction I used to. I used to hear words, “you can touch me anytime!” in that light, lilting voice she uses when she’s happy. I can feel her body shiver under my touch. Or I could..perhaps it’s just me imagining it’s different. But I don’t think so.
Her texts used to be laced with emotiicons. Symbols of us, surrounded by hearts. I haven’t seen one in days. Her “I love you” texts are few and far between, and when they come I wonder if they were accidental or by force of habit I wonder if she winces afer she sends it and thinks to herself…damn, I didn’t mean to do that.
I may still be in her heart, but I feel like I’ve been replaced. Maybe he’s better, or maybe there’s just more of a connection for her. I don’t know. I can’t read her mind…as much as I’d like to. Or not, perhaps I don’t really want to know what;s going on up there.
I was always just with her, but unless there were short periods where there was never anyone else…she’s never just been with me. I think she’s always been with Justin, though that one is long over. It’s clear she still has issues to work through with that relationship, her longest, and perhaps the only one where she was able to be faithful for even a period of time. It was toxic, and not a relationsip I think she’d want to repeat. But still, you can hear the indignation in her voice every time she talks about how she was cheated on. How there was another woman the whole time she was pregnant, and how during that time she actually thought she had a shot at that blissful family happiness that she says now she does not want. And yet he’s out there, having the life I think she dreamed of for a spell. He’s got his family, her daughter a part of it, and his woman gets to spend more time with her daughter than she does.
Then there’s Greg, the first guy she dumped me for. For almost 4 months I endured that relationship, longing for her, but trying to just be her friend. I dated, but my heart wasn’t in it. I ended up friends with one of the woman that I dated, and she’s quick to point out that it was clear where my heart and mind were the entire time. I never even took her pcitures out of my digital photo frame. I thought things were over between her and Greg when they started up again with us. She started out by saying she was in love with both of us…but then quickly posted about loving only one man, and that that man was me. I endured their roommate situation for a full year, thinking that all was platonic between them…and honestly, I believe it was for a while. Apparently, though, she started seeing him again as soon as he moved out. Pretty soon he had his days…and I had mine. I lived mostly oblivious to this. I was with her, I didn’t see her enough, but when I did I felt like the guy. I felt loved. I still feel loved.
Somewhere in there Wolfie came into the mix. I can’t remember his real name. Last January I began to see the same patterns. Things were different and suddenly I wasn’t the one anymore. By Valentine’s Day I knew things were over, but I had plans, and I kept them. I enjoyed what I thought would be our last night together, and then I prepared to let her go. It took a few weeks to actually have our talk about it, and we ended things, and she cried as I gave her back her stuff and walked away.
My phone was quiet for a while but it was too hard not to talk to her. She told me she wanted to swim with me and so we planned a swim, and then another, and another. Each time she was with me she would look at me the way she used to. She would touch me the way she used to. And finally I told her I was confused and didn’t know what to do. And we were back.
Two months ago it all changed again. Two months ago I started to realize there was another. I could not pretend I didn’t see it, and it started to eat at me. All the signs were there and I finally called her out on it. Kris is now in the picture, a young 22 year old, who may be the one who makes her heart sing now.
But now I know about the others, and at least I know what I am dealing with. The truth hurts, but it is better than living a lie. But I can’t shake the feeling that I am no longer important. I no longer matter the way I used to. I certainly am struggling with feeling it. I’m hurting, not because there’s someone else..but because there always was, and if I continue this journey, there probably always will be. I’m hurting becaause I don’t see what value I have in her life…what purpose I serve.
And I’m struggling to see my own value.
I want to be wrong, I want to know where I stand though, and I want to feel it. I want to hold her and understand her feelings, and know that I am loved.
I’m still going to try to make this work. You’ll tell me I’m a fool, an idiot, and maybe I am. But you don’t choose who you fall in love with, and I am madly in love with her. But if it turns out I’m right, and I’m not the one or even a one…I’ll bow out. I’ll walk away and let it go. I’ll have to. But I am pretty sure I am going to cry when I do.