I drank too much at the wedding. Like I had too much to drink the weekend before, and the weekend before that. Surrounded by the celebration and long banquet tables, I downed glass after glass after glass of champagne and danced under the moonlit trees, because at one time that made me happy. One more glass to happiness.
I remember leaving the wedding but I don't remember getting to your place across town. The in-between was a blur of highway lights and your hip hop on the radio. I knew you were angry. But you wouldn't say so. You never said so. You would just look at me so heartbroken, so let down, as if I was the greatest disappointment. I believe you thought this was kind; but I wanted instead to feel the sting of your words, like I wanted to feel the sting of your hand against my thighs. But you, in your infinite gentleness, would never give me either.
I awoke in your bed in the earliest of morning hours, my deep purple bridesmaid dress crumpled on the floor, bobby pins scattered amok. The red wine stain on the sheet was a messy reminder that I was still searching for that liquid exuberance when we got home. I put my hand to my aching forehead and grasped behind me to the nightstand for a glass of water. After a year and a half in that bed I didn't need to turn the light on. I knew every foot of your studio, like I knew every inch of your body. Every centimeter of your soft lips. I don't remember if I had you that night. I probably did. I probably wanted to feel that closeness from you that only came from your body and not your mind.
You rustled from my movement and faced me. I could see your long dark eyelashes unobscured by your glasses. My face flushed and my eyes welled up with salty tears.
I thought about how scared I was that I was turning 30, and how terrified I was of being back in my hometown, and how devastated I was in my myriad of disappointments. At the time I thought you could make all that better. I thought if I loved you enough I would love myself again. I could not have loved you more, yet I was still covered in layers of heavy worry.
I cried harder, sobbing, burying my head in the blankets.
Then I made you say it. I made you give me those hard, merciless, necessary words.
"Tell me you don't love me. Tell me you don't want to be with me anymore," I pleaded.
So you did. You said it. It was over. Of course you said you did love me but I could, perhaps for the first time, hear the ting of emptiness in those words. I cried until I fell asleep from exhaustion, and when I awoke again a few hours later I kissed your beautiful face for the last time, held your solid, tall body in my arms for a last embrace, then walked out of your apartment and your life.