Stream of Consciousness, Love in a Broken Way

He spun her hair in his hands and couldn’t seem to understand why she couldn’t lay still and be happy. She was in some sort of constant motion, except for when she was in the deepest kind of sleep. Anything short of that and she was doing, thinking, planning something. Even in shallow sleeps she would awaken with something new to write down, or mumble her endless thoughts to an audience that didn’t exist. Casually, he began to trace lines on her face, as gentle as possible. Her eyes were closed but he didn’t believe them, she wasn’t supposed to be sleeping, she was supposed to be somewhere in fifteen minutes.
“Wake me up in fifteen minutes if I fall asleep.” She had said it.
“Where do you have to go?” She had stopped in only moments before, fitting next to his body so easily it was like she was always there, which was far from the actual state of things. She spoke of some meeting for some organization he didn’t know she had joined on some street two blocks away he had conveniently never heard of.
“Skip it, you’re exhausted.” He said, so simply, hopelessly. She sighed that sigh of he should know better but smiled.
“You’re sweet.” The sweet seeming to imply that he was wrong but he let it go because it felt so good to have her here, to claim a few minutes of the day she had always overbooked herself for.
“I love you.” he whispered as quietly as possible while still acknowledging to himself that he had said it.
When was the last time she had said it? He struggled to find the answer, disliking the bitter taste that filled his mouth, the poison that filled his brain when he thought of the last time she had stopped to say such vital words. She didn’t stir. Maybe she was asleep, but maybe his words scared her. It had taken her so long to even agree to a relationship, every step was slow. Slow but worth it, he told himself after their third date when she had declined a fourth until she graduated college. She needed to focus on her finals, she needed to focus on her internship, she needed to focus on her new job, she needed to focus on sending the letter to her mom, she needed to focus on her sick dog. Thousands of strings, all demanding her attention. And yet he slowly stuck with her until he had a string of his own, tugging it every so often. Let me take you out to dinner, he would say and she would already say no because some boss was buying her dinner and anyway he didn’t have enough money in his bank account to really take her out did he? He didn’t tell her that he had taken extra hours at work so he could take her places, so he could buy her things, so that she would give him a string that demanded her attention in better ways than the looming deadlines of work or familial obligations.
He loved her and that was the simple fact that kept him bound to the couch, her head in his lap. It was the thing that taunted him as he reached her overfull voicemail again and couldn’t even leave her a message. It was the feeling that comforted him, at least he had found someone he loved so fully. It was the feeling that kept him glued and kept ungluing him.

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