Nothing

The doorbell is ringing. I’m stalling before I push the button to open the door. You’ll have to come upstairs, 5th floor. I’m pacing back and forth. So nervous. It’s ringing again. You’re at the apartment door. A deep breath and I’m opening it. There you are. You’re entering. We’re hugging to say hello. “Did you get wet a lot?,” I’m asking since it’s raining outside. “Just a bit,” you’re answering. You’re going into the living room, then into the kitchen to get a glass of water, while I’m still pacing around from one room to another, pretending to pack things together. I’m stalling again. What’s the point? Let’s do this!

I’m going back to the living room. You’re looking at me expectingly. “Shall we sit down?,” I’m offering, pointing to the couch. We’re sitting down, well you’re kind of lying down and you’re asking “so what’s it about?”
– “Do you have an idea?”
– “No, not really.”
– “Well, it’s about the same issue that I’d once sent you an email about” I’m shaking, probably blushing. This is more difficult than I thought. Can’t keep my voice and hands calm. I’m playing nervously with the long sleeves of my cardigan. I am daring to go on: “I guess your answer to that question would still be the same now?”
– “Yes.”
I knew it, but my heart is sinking. You are adding: “I have no feelings for you. And it’s nothing personal.”
I’m nodding. Can’t even look at you. You’re looking at me. There’s a pause before I can go on: “I expected this answer. The thing is that I had recently noticed that you did a lot of nice things for me and I wonder why you did them.”
– “Like what, for example?”
– “Well, like when you didn’t let me eat by myself at our friend’s house. You came into the living room to me even though you already had a seat in the kitchen.”
– “Ah. I didn’t even notice until you sent me that email afterwards.”
I’m taken aback. Wait, what? He didn’t even think about this? Just did this for no reason? This seemed to be so obvious to me.
– “What else?,” you want to know. If you can’t even remember having done this on purpose or not, what’s the point of even mentioning the other things?
– “Well, there were a lot of minor things that probably didn’t mean anything at all either, like during that long weekend at our buddy’s place.” I’m so disappointed. I don’t want to go on. We’re sitting there in silence.
– “Maybe you should teach H to be nicer to you,” you’re suggesting.
I feel insulted or that you’re attacking H. ” I’m not saying that H is not nice to me. I don’t know why these feelings keep coming back. I don’t have a reason to look for another man.”
Again there’s uncomfortable silence.
– “I don’t know how I can help you with this,” you’re saying.
– “I know you can’t help me with this. That’s why I needed to talk to you. To get confirmation that those nice things didn’t mean anything. Because I get confused at times. I don’t want you to stop being nice now either; that wouldn’t make sense. Besides, things have changed a bit since the other thing happened.”
– ” What other thing?”
Gee, you really don’t know?, I’m wondering. – “The miscarriage. One starts to think differently about things then.”
More silence. Nothing coming from you. No comforting words of empathy. I’m trying again: “I feel as if we could get along well, like I get along with my brother. But I feel these other feelings keep holding me back when I am around you.”
– “Holding you back from what?”
– “From being the way I really am, I guess. Or simply talking to you about regular stuff.”
– “Well, I don’t talk much anyway. I’m not into small talk.”
– “I noticed that already.”
– “But it doesn’t mean anything either,” you are adding right away, defending yourself as if I’d put this as a sign that you’d feel something for me as well. Oh my… this is not going well at all. You didn’t say anything about at least getting along well with each other. Then you’re mentioning that you inviting me to play that online game together doesn’t mean anything either, that it’s simply more fun to play together. “I figured,” is all I’m saying. I’m out of ideas. Utterly disappointed. I want this to end. So I’m concluding: “Like I said: this would be quick to talk about. We’ve cleared this up, I guess.”
A bit more silence and then you are starting up a conversation about that online game, as if nothing happened. So superficial, so shallow. We’re laughing, making jokes.

Even later on in the car to pick up H from work, we’re casually talking (even though you just told me before that you’re not the type of person for small talk).

At your parents’ house this weekend, same routine as always. I’m hurting so much inside. I kind of expected you to not have romantic feelings for me, but at least I thought there were some nice feelings, of friendship or like brother and sister, because after all, you have done lots of nice things for me. Obvious ones. But apparantly you did them unaware or subconsciously, without really meaning them. So when you said you have no feelings for me, it means no feelings at all. Nothing.

Nothing.

That’s the worst thing. I did not even consider this a possibility.

I’m not your love interest; I’m not your friend; I’m not your sister-in-law. I’m just your brother’s wife. Nothing else. I’m so utterly disappointed and heartbroken. I lost you. I lost your friendship, even though I never had it, I guess.

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