The Magic Number

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt: Demolish.



Here is how you go from We to Me.

First, you have The Conversation. 
This is no mere mortal conversation. This is The Conversation. The one you can’t come back from. This is the conversation where you say The Things. The things that have been looming. That have been lurking in the shadows, growing, sucking all of the oxygen from the room as you slowly suffocate. These things are the dragons you have to slay before they kill you.

Because they will.

Our conversation happened at 3:27am, on one of many a string of nights I couldn’t sleep. 

“We’re not going to make it, are we?”

The Conversation usually starts with The Question. The one that one or the both of you has been choking on, trying to swallow down because most of you knows the answer and it’s not the one you want.

“No. We’re not.”

You talk it out. You fight it out. You say the right things and the mean things and the true things. You say things that, were this a thing that should work out, might draw the other closer to you. But because this is the drawdown from We to Me, it only inches them further away. There’s a last grasp, the Hail Mary, the last thing you say when you’re ready to go for broke. And that’s when you realize that The Things have pulled them just beyond the reach of your fingertips.

That’s when The Resignation comes. It’s usually easy to spot. It’s everything that comes after The Sigh. The Thing has been vanquished. It’s let all the air back into the room. And it frigid and still. You have to settle into it as though it were comfortable, but it’s not that it’s cozy, it’s that it’s permanent. The Resignation comes when you know you have to let go.

“I hate this.”
“I know. Me too.”
“I really thought-“
“I know. Me too.”

You lapse into quiet. The words running out isn’t because you have nothing left to say, it’s because everything you have to say is futile. There is no coming back from The Conversation. 

“I’m coming home in a few weeks. I need your undivided attention for the weekend. I’m not asking.”

You want to say no, because you should. It’s wiser.

But The Conversation leaves you raw and exposed in a way that you’d never choose to be. And every no feels like being stabbed with a hot, salted knife.

“I’ll make that happen.”

Then there’s The Goodbye. Which- even as it’s awkward and uncomfortable and hurtful- isn’t even the hard part.

Because the next part is The Silence.
And that’s what will kill you.

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