Attention

“Uh huh,” she said. Blueish light illuminated her face as she held her phone in front of her eyes.

“You never want to talk anymore. You’re so distant. I can’t remember the last time we even kissed.” The painful accusations spilled from his mouth as she remained in bed. He waited for a response, but got none, so he proceeded, “Look, we need to talk about this. I feel like I’m losing my best friend.”

She sighed and glanced over at him. “I just woke up. It’s my day off and I just want to relax. Is that so much to ask? I’m tired of your insecurity.” The blue glow returned again to her face.

It had been like this for the past year, the distance slowly but steadily grew between them. The more he sought her attention, the more distant she became. And the more distant she became, the more his insecurity and desperation swelled. He didn’t know what to do, and everything he tried only seemed to make things worse. He didn’t understand why she didn’t just break up with him and end it all. Maybe it was because he was paying the rent—“No,” he told himself, “you can’t think that way. She’s just going through a rough patch in life. It’s understandable that she’s been depressed and distant.”

Myriad expressions crossed his face as he ruminated. Then the thought came again—the one that he hated. It had been popping up more frequently as time went on. Last week, he even had a dream in which he finally went through with it. He didn’t want to admit it, but he felt relieved when he woke up. He pressed the thought down again. He believed in the power of love! What about all the years when things were good?

Nothing he said ever got her attention, much less turned things around. He wanted to believe—wanted to make things right again. After all, she was still here, right? She must have some hope of things improving as well, right? Why else would they still be sleeping in the same bed?

Such justifications are only believable at first. After several months, they just start sounding like excuses. The voice in his head sounded again. He wanted to ignore it, but it was overpowering. This was the end. The words had been on the tip of his tongue for months now. Then it just seemed to happen. It wasn’t even him saying the words. The words themselves forced their way out of his mouth. He was detached, a third party watching the scene unfold as the statement spilled out of his mouth.

He finally had her attention.

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