I'll open with this, I am not mad.
I'm just exhausted.
Yes, I know exactly what you did last night, again.
No, no one told me, no one needs to tell me anymore, I'm not blind. You came home in the early hours of the morning, and you showered before climbing into bed.
My bed, your bed, our bed.
Despite the shower you still smelt of cheap alcohol and cigarettes (you promised you quit, perhaps you did, and this is another punishment, you knew it was harder for me to quit so you flaunt it. I want to hate you, for that of all things.)
And, though you'd washed away the smell of the other person... Still their presence clung to you.
I think it was a woman last night... Do you think that hurts me more? Or less?
You laid down with your back to me.
But then you sat up, turned over. You were watching me.
Were you willing me awake? Or praying I'd stay asleep?
I barely sleep anymore, I wait for you to come home, then I wait for you to sleep, then I wait for you to wake up, and pray today is the day things will go back to how they were.
You cried again last night.
When you do that I want to stop my pretence of sleep.
I want to hold you, kiss you, tell you everything will be fine, we're okay, we're gonna be okay.
But I don't, because the words stick, and I'm scared.
You kissed my cheek before you laid back down, faced away from me again.
I understand it. I know you want to forgive me, I know I hurt you. In sleep we can be perfect, and it doesn't hurt so much. But when we're awake, it's all real again. And you see me as the man who sat there, hands between his knees to keep them still, unable to look at you, explaining what he'd done.
I've said it a thousand times now, but you still don't forgive me.
And still you keep punishing me. The knife in your back is lodged between your shoulder blades, and though I tried to remove it, it won't budge.
So, repeatedly, you stick your own knife in mine.
If we share the pain, neither of us can heal.
I just want us to heal.
I'll try again, to pull it out.
When I finally do, it'll be such a shock, won't it?
I wonder if forgiveness, after all this time, will hurt just as bad?
Watch your back, and keep the blade.
(The truth is I think you’ve started to like it now. It gets you pity.
I think it got you laid).
It got to that time of night again, when you make an excuse, say you’re going out. And I pretend like I don’t know.
I saw you look at the clock, you even stood up, headed to our room to get your coat, money and shoes.
But tonight you paused.
Turned to look at me.
And for once, for the first time in so long.
You saw me.
Really saw me.
You were sat beside me again, tentative.
Were you scared of me?
Or just scared that the knife was finally dislodging?
“We can’t go on like this.”
Your words make me certain we’re really over. You’ve had enough of even pretending now.
“You’ve said your sorry, and I’ve been refusing to accept it… I don’t expect you to say it again. But…”
I hold my breath, as these words seem unreal.
Is this really happening?
“I need to say it too…”
You closed your eyes before you say the words.
And, simple as that, stupid as that, I’m crying.
“I know it’s not enough.” You say. “I know how much I hurt you, but you hurt me! You hurt me so much! But… That isn’t an excuse. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
You’re trying not to cry.
Always stronger than I am.
“I never meant to hurt you.” I said, my words a whisper. It seems strange, this is the most we’ve said to each other for too long.
“We can fix this, right?” You ask.
I nod. “I want to.”
“I want you back.” You say.
“I wasn’t the one who went away.”
And then you take my hand, you’re crying too now.
You kiss my cheek, like you do when you think I’m sleeping.
You wipe away the tears, even though they continue to fall.
Then you kiss my lips.
The knives are pulled out, and though the wounds are new, it feels better.
It doesn’t hurt as much.
The wrong doings are forgotten, at least for now.
And our poor, battered hearts begin to mend.
We will heal.