After You

“You don’t love me anymore.”

I could see my words surprised him.

I’m glad he’s being honest as he nods his head, once. He’s probably wondering what gave him away. “Your wallet”, I say. He nods again, understanding.

He looks so small and lost on the hospital bed. But I can’t let that affect me, at least he can’t know that it affects me. Instead, I say,

“I’m heading home to pack my things. I’ll probably move out by the end of the week. You’ll need help when you are discharged.”

He nods once again. I almost laugh at the absurdity of our conversation. I walk closer to him. I’m not really thinking as I run my fingers through his hair one last time and say goodbye. He’ll be fine, I tell myself as I walk away, that his broken bones and bruises will heal in time.

As I pack my things, I’m appalled at all that we have. Well, just makes it easier to split everything I guess. I know the stuff he’ll want to keep, and I know mine. At least there are no legal hassles. We weren’t even married.

Would we have a stronger relationship had we married, I wonder. Maybe we wouldn’t even have lasted this long. I try not to think of the past as I gather my things.

I know I’ll miss this house. My kitchen with its blue Formica tiles that I got specially made. The large open balcony – the reason we got this place. The familiar walls and spaces, our favorite spots, the conversations and the parties we threw. The way we fought over ‘my side’ of the bed and eventually always landed in the middle. I still feel his touch on my skin, gentle as he brushed my cheeks… No. No looking back. Not yet.

I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to stay here even for the next few days. I’ve gathered way too many memories over the years, and everything here reminds me of what I no longer have. I feel out of sorts, having checked into the hotel room. It’s an alien feeling. My reaction is surprising. I usually love the glamour hotel rooms have. But I guess it is normal to feel this way when your partner meets someone new.

I order in some food, watch some tele and then sleep. That’s all I do for the next few days. I wake up not knowing the time or day. I realize Akash has called me a few times and return his call. Apparently I need to be there when he’s discharged. I contemplate letting him figure things out, but then head over anyway. Once I drop him off at home I’m back at the hotel and I sleep some more.

The next time I pick up the phone to order in some food, I decide against it. Instead, I head to the bar and order a drink. I read for a while and then look around. I wonder what people sitting around think of me. I tell myself to stop kidding myself and have my drink. Who the fuck would be interested in me?

The next day I look at a few house rentals and decide on one. I move in 2 days. It’s a quaint and cosy little apartment with greenery all around. I have a few freelance projects lined up and knock them off over the afternoon. Akash calls asking for a few numbers and I tell him I’ve left him a list in the top drawer by his bed. I sense he wants to say something, but I ignore it and hang up.

I make friends with my new neighbor and she invites me over to tea. She’s one of those inquisitive aunties who want to know my life story. She wants to know I manage finances when I tell her I’m a writer.  The tea is good however, and I decide I could exchange a few details for that.


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