The lie brought a smile to her and opened up the stream of her tears, where earlier they were a mere trickle. You see, then she believed it was the absolute truth. She knew he would ever lie to her. Maybe he never did. Maybe he just changed his mind. But isn’t that a lie too? Changing your mind?
They kissed then forgetting the difference between hunger, spit and tears. They all tasted the same in her mouth, and his too. Probably. Everything that usually followed their kiss followed; they made love, they cooked, he fed her, she dangled her feet off the kitchen counter watching him move around the kitchen, she telling little stories. What did they talk about, she wondered. What did they talk about before they argued, she corrected. Everything and nothing. As much of a cliche that was, it was true. That’s what love does to you, she said. It gives you the capacity to endlessly talk about everything; suddenly you have stories you’ve never told. Suddenly, just as the conversation started (“You mean to say apple juice has no sugar?”) it also ends and then there are only kisses and sighs; moans and screams, depending on whether you’re a screamer in bed, whether you’re a screamer when you argue. Silence is rare, because even when you’re asleep, your breath is getting in each other’s way. Your long hair tickles and you are far too polite to pull away that stuck, numb, pins-and-needles hand from between two resting bodies.
But sleep was always beautiful, she remembered. He’d twitch — toes, fingers, elbow, knee — before his body would finally settle down to satiated, protective sleep, an arm around her. She’d rock gently between sleep and wakefulness, waiting for the arm that held her to fall aside as he slept deeper. A completely futile exercise because not once did his arm go slack, releasing her from the warm enclosure of their bodies. But sleep came to her rarely. She willed it away because she didn’t want to miss him when she fell asleep.
She smiled at that thought. Some times, sleep had gently rested on her and she had woken up by his waking. And yet, she’d pretend to be asleep just so that they wouldn’t have to end this. So they didn’t have to go their own way when this was done because going away meant debilitating. Like that cheesy song, every time she left him, she left bits of herself with him. Sometimes her kisses, sometimes her breath. Sometimes all the love she could carry in her heart. Other times her energy, her excitement, her wetness. Yet other times, her wallet, her keys, her earrings. He took as much as he gave. Or maybe just a little less.
As she lay in the dark a thousand times more, on the same sofa, after that tearful afternoon, imagining their weightlessness, their heaviness of parting, she willed herself to hear that voice again. “I am not leaving you.” Most days she heard the voice, she heard the strength it took for him to say that to her, knowing he was wrong, not knowing he was lying. But as time passed, just like with the noise of the world around her, the voice began fading. Until it became a ghost of the words that were said, until, like ghosts, she doubted they’d been said at all.