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A Caricature of Intimacy

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At first it had been nice. Quiet, calm. No one trying to kill them, any of them. But then, somewhere along the way, it became less about savoring life and more about not quitting. Something both of them would admit they had a hard time doing.

She peeled apples for him, and he wanted to tell her that he was fine now, he didn’t need her to treat him like a child. He could peel his own apples, damn it. But the words died in his throat, fear of hurting her, hurting this normal life, holding him back.

He wondered if he ever wanted a normal life to begin with.

They went to the market together and he always, always bought her flowers. Great big blossoms fighting with each other for dominance in the bouquet. Cut flowers, raised with the most modern techniques to give the most vibrant color and the most heady scent. She wanted to throw them away, use them for mulch, but she couldn’t. She always put them in a vase and kept them watered until next week brought the next batch of them.

She wondered if he knew she didn’t like flowers.

It was eventually agreed upon, without either of them having to voice their opinion, but rather each of them had come to the realization at the same time so it was something like an agreement, that they did not do domesticity well. They could put on all appearances, like they were acting in a play. She made sure he was comfortable and well fed; he brought home flowers and showed her the utmost affection.

They hated it.

He did not want to be taken care of. She did not want to be the little woman of the house.

Neither could bear the time between lying down to sleep and when their eyelids drooped and their breathing evened out. He did not want her piteous comfort, he did not want her pity. She did not want to comfort him, to play into his weakness.

Little things started to show the chinks in the armor. She forgot to water the flowers, letting them wither and die. He snatched the apple out of her hand before she could peel it. Their sleeping arrangements worked to keep them apart, and rarely were they in the bed together as time went by. Small excuses were found. He took naps, making him too alert to sleep at night. She kept early hours, awake when he was asleep, asleep when he was awake.

It did not take long for this to occur, but it seemed like they had been spinning further and further apart for forever; and perhaps that is another telling sign, the passage of time seemed to stretch and elongate before them, as if they were imprisoned in this narrow band of time. The feeling of entrapment did not sit well with either of them.

So one day he moved out. Gone like he had never been in her house, taking up a part of her life that she didn’t know had existed until he had pushed it aside. Though it was not his fault. Neither of them were at fault. Neither of them were blameless.

Some relationships should not be pushed into places they were never meant to go.

And they both wondered if there was any going back.