Vitaliy Mitrofanenko

I Finally Realize The Truth: You Never Loved Me

I remember how your ceiling fan hummed, stale air orbiting around the room, carrying my thoughts of us with it. The sound of your breathing and the window blinds rattling in the breeze all used to put me to sleep. I used to slip into unconsciousness in the midst of the familiarity of it all. It took me a long time to finally admit to myself that just because something is familiar doesn’t mean that it is acceptable.

I remember how these lips were kissed dry, and the tickle fights always left me bruised, but not once did I ever leave a mark on you. It was then that I knew what we had wasn’t love. It was just a year of moving and painting rooms. I painted mine alone, but helped you paint yours, too. Mine was white, yours was gray. Now, there’s a box of unfinished love poems in the back of my closet, set aside for a rainy November day. Just like this one.  

I remember the night I made a blanket fort in your living room out of furniture and your mattress. Your roommate was away for the weekend, and we had the house to ourselves. Of all the things we could’ve done, I just wanted to build a damn blanket fort. But you were outside for so long, getting drunk and high in your friend’s car, that I ended up taking everything down and putting everything back because I realized blanket forts aren’t supposed to be built alone. Neither are relationships. I realized that I deserved to be with someone who didn’t make me feel like I was hard to love or like the smallest requests of sobriety were asking for too much.

I remember sneaking out of your room and going home after you had fallen asleep that night. I remember how you called me, crying when you woke up and I wasn’t beside you. I didn’t know how to tell you at the time, but I just couldn’t sleep there. All at once, laying there by your side felt like I was suffocating in the unfamiliarity of my lowered standards. Laying next to you felt like defeat, like giving up, allowing you to drain me of everything.

Now that you’re gone, I finally see you through my mother’s eyes. Today, I found an old, folded up Christmas list of all the things I had bought for you and everything I still wanted to buy. My mom was right. I would have given you the world and you would have given me a stick of gum.

You didn’t love me. I should have listened to my mother when she told me to run.

You didn’t love me. Oh, but I know you swear you tried.

You tried.

That always was your favorite lie.