I looked down with a focused narrowing of my eyes because the minute I look up into his eyes, I feel my resolve weaken. No, not this time. He is taking me too much for granted.
I replayed in my head the events of that evening. How he failed to live up to yet another promise and I involuntarily pressed my eyes shut. A deep sigh escaped me.
“Baby, say something.” he said.
Something deep inside my stomach twisted. He has just had a bath and his musky smell fill me up and I gasp for breath.
No, not now.
My heart skips a beat and I can feel its loud beating in my ears.
I hear a voice.
‘Look at him. Look at the face that never fails to evoke a tenderness I have never felt for anyone. Look at those eyes that are brimming over with tears of regret. Look at him.’
He will see it in my eyes. He will look through me, like he always does. He will know that sitting next to him and not touching him and kissing him and whispering to him is taking all the strength every cell in my body can muster.
He strokes the back of my palm with his thumb. And I feel that familiar ache rise in me. I feel my body burn for him even as I seethe in resentment. I want to touch him but prohibit myself from it and just hop he kept stroking my hand the way he was. He does and I feel the blood rise to my cheeks.
I don’t say a word. And I feel lucky that a touch does not convey the degree of helplessness he makes me feel and the hold he has on my heart. I feel safe in the knowledge that he won’t know that walking out on him would be like trying to skin myself alive or even worse.
I gaze at passersby, looking through them, registering nothing while all my thoughts focus on the movement of his fingertip on my forearm. I try not to tremble and shift in my seat. I focus on inconsequential objects; stare even, to avoid revealing the secrets of my heart. He knows nothing. Or so I’d like to believe.
He follows my gaze and worry furrows his eyebrows. I smile to myself knowing he has nothing to worry about. The silence continues and I begin to crave the warmth of his body.
He looks around and the sandwich on the table catches his attention. I see his eyes light up. He casually writes on the sandwich with ketchup, the words I struggled all evening to hold inside.
I Love You.