Love Grows Cold

Short fiction because why not, c’est Monday

I’m sorry I can’t love you the way you want to be loved.

There’s an honesty to conversations made beneath polyester sheets at four in the morning. The world sleeps, and you lie saline streaked beside a man you once loved wondering if the round wound of your heart will ever heal from those indelible thirteen words. Thirteen honest words that send you reeling in the dark for anything to say. But only tears. Childish tears, loud sobs between mouthfuls of pillow and chokes in the silence. It irritates him now. You irritate him now. He will not reach for you, he will not pull you from the loneliness into the wide warmth of his arms and kiss you with the desperation of a child beside a keening puppy. All that made you beautiful has faded to him, the goddess blown off her pedestal, the radiant ripe of your youth now a clownish painted parody of a lost and self absorbed child.

You don’t love me. You don’t love me. The words are a zoetrope, round and round, a carousel of an assault rifle, shot to kill.

Perhaps that was a good time to be honest, lying a thousand miles apart in the same bed, closer and further than ever. Perhaps I could now tell him I could see the disgust in the waxy dark of his pupils when I slumped across his lap in my nightrobe, that his kisses were sallow, eyes open as if to keep guard over my attack on his intimacy. I knew, in the soft relief he felt at my absence, at his longing for the presence of others, that I had lost him. I watched his face in the dark, sat upright and rigid as he stood to attention, while I wept. I could stand it if you cared, I wanted to cry out. I could stand it if any of my pain mattered to you. If I knew there was part of me you did not despise.

“Did you ever care about me?” I ask, bitterly, more out of self pity than a desire for any truth. Maybe he loved being loved. Maybe I was the beautiful illusion, the fantasy from far away that had come too close, his breath lighting my clay until I spilt instant coffee on the counters and ran ladders through my stockings. Maybe I really was less beautiful now, red faced and aging, my girlhood fading into roundish womanhood. Maybe I repulsed him now. Maybe all love ended like this, and maybe I owned nothing beyond giddy notions of a man who told me I was meant to be adored.

“You’re so self-absorbed, Emma,” he replied. “I’m not validating your pathetic attempts for attention. Stop blabbering and go to sleep.”

He turns then, rolling into the sheets away from me and leaving me staring up at the black hard ceiling. I can see the gold and white glitter of the city from the window, the silhouette of the trees cut out against the light. I want to get up and leave, disappear out there into the cold of the river or the rush of the trains. I know he would not rouse himself from his sleep to chase me. Not now. Far away from this, this moment where he does not love me, I am not precious or treasured or his, this moment where I know that everything is and will always be tainted no matter how many times I try to forget

Those thirteen honest words

I’m sorry I can’t love you the way you want to be loved

I’m sorry I can’t love you the way you want to be loved

I’m sorry I can’t love you the way you want to be loved

I’m sorry I can’t love you

I’m sorry

--

--

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26 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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Madelaine Lucy Hanson

Madelaine Lucy Hanson

26 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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