My back was to him as I looked out the window. The glass was fogged up, rain running down like sweat on cold glass, preventing me from seeing the city. It was a much-needed distraction as I prepared myself to speak. The room was cold and damp. I pulled the sweater tighter against me as if that could help me with what I was about to say. “Here’s the thing you don’t realize. . . .I love you. But you don’t love me.”
“That’s not true,” he protested. I knew if I looked back, his jaw would be tense, eyes dark gray like the weather outside, all anger and grief and stubbornness. I didn’t look at him because I knew seeing his handsome face, would break my resolve. And I knew – I knew I had to do this.
I should’ve done it a long damn time ago.
“Let me finish,” I said sharply. He goes quiet and I know he’s waiting on me to continue.
“What I mean is that you don’t love me how I love you. Do you love me? Yes, but it’s not the same. It’s like. . .It’s like that first love, yeah it’s there but almost faded like an old photograph. That’s what I am to you, I’m an old photograph. The colors all faded, and though I am important, every day, you look at me a little less. Instead, you look at him. He’s a damn Van Gogh painting. . .” The lump in my throat gets bigger. I had to get these words out though. I had too. For my sake. This love for them was going to destroy me and I couldn’t let that happen. Of course, once I thought about it, this love I have for them had already destroyed me.
I took a deep breath and finally turned to look at him.
It breaks my heart. He’s leaning against the kitchen table, his arms crossed as he looked at me with those beautiful gray eyes that right now were flat and emotionless. I stepped closer to him but didn’t take his hand. It wasn’t time for that. Not right now.
“I love you,” I whispered like it was a secret. Like the whole world didn’t know how much I loved him. Like the whole damn world didn’t know that everything I have ever done, I did for him. Like the whole damn world didn’t know that I spent half my life waiting on him and for him to never stay.
“But you,” my voice cracked like a 12-year-old boy’s. It’s embarrassing. “you don’t love me the same.”
He reached for me and I hated myself for stepping back. He looked like a kicked puppy. “I. . .” I ran a hand through my hair, then started fiddling with a piece of my sweater that’s unraveling. Unraveling like my love life. How did I explain it to him? Finally, I got it.
“You are my Starry Night,” I continued. “You’re everything. You’re the sun and the stars, the moon, and every damn planet. You’re the galaxy. I have spent half my life waiting for you. But you never stay. You leave again and again. But every time you come back, here I am. I am always waiting for you. Always. And I. . .I can’t do that anymore, James.”
“Katherine-” he began.
“No. I can’t do it anymore. I’m not saying I don’t love you. I do love you but love. . .it isn’t enough. Not when I see the way you look at him when you think I’m not looking. Not when I see the pining and everything. It’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to me.” I swallowed.
This time he ran a hand through his hair. “I never meant to hurt you, Kat.”
I smiled. “I know. Now, you gonna stand here or you gonna go ask a certain someone out on a date?”
He walked towards me. His hand was cold on my face. On instinct, I turned and kissed his wrist. “We’ll still be friends, right?’
“Of course,” I said.
We both knew I was lying.
He kissed my cheek gently before he turned and left. And once again, I was left behind.
(Excerpt from a fanfiction I’ll never write.)