She used to love him and it used to be beautiful. She used to stay up and read his letters, his messages, his facial features, all day and night because she needed to. Because it gave her breath that little bit more depth, her smile that little bit more width, the space between her thighs that little bit more shake. But they were dying now, and she had run out of thoughts about resuscitation. They were dead perhaps, and she was that relative who walked past the open casket straight-faced because theirs was too troublesome a relationship. The stench of death bore through arduous conversation and glorious distance, through the longing of unborn love letters and the tales of yesterday, through tormenting nightmares and her thinning frame. In the same way that she could feel her collarbone tearing painfully through the layer of skin around her throat, she could feel the truth tearing through their interactions – it was all becoming far too strenuous to ignore.
In the same way she had lost her appetite, and each time she walked into the kitchen she retorted straight back out, she walked into every moment with him, leaving her heart behind. In the same way she would look at her reflection and lurch in disgust, she would see the state of what they had become and heave, slamming the mirror face-down in both instances: no conversation, no meetings, what would be the point? She had remembered what it felt like to feign love: how silent, strategic, strenuous the days. How clueless the men. And it should have hurt her to have to do this to him as she did the others- die while walking hand in hand, kiss while dreaming of yesterday’s lunch- but the feelings had fled a long time ago, and she was too tired to pursue them. She would have to realise someday that even if not externally, internally, they were over. And she wasn’t even sure if they were friends, for you would tell your friends your plans – you would always say goodbye were your heart to leave.