He didn’t know when it changed.
Maybe it was when she laughed so hard that she couldn’t even close her mouth to breath. Her eyes were shut and she was absentmindedly wiping away the tears that accompany such an experience. In that moment she didn’t care what anybody thought, and it was like seeing the sky after a rainstorm. Seeing that clarity made him stop laughing. He stopped laughing and just stared. Then she stopped. Her mouth closed, and the clouds were back, hiding the beautiful sky that was her. She looked confused, but he just stared and hoped with all his heart that he could be the one to get rid of those clouds forever. He didn’t say that, though. He just asked if she wanted another drink and made an excuse to leave for a few minutes.
That definitely could have been it.
It could have been when she stood in front of the mirror. They were already running late and every time she looked at him her eyes were full of apology. He didn’t really mind, and he wasn’t really paying attention. In fact, he couldn’t care less about going to this stupid party in the first place. It wasn’t the sort of place that he felt comfortable – far too posh and high brow. It was the sort of thing that he just knew would feel stuffy and smell of expensive fabrics and perfume. They were only going out of obligation. So, when he looked up and saw her standing there, critiquing herself, biting her thumb nail in concentration, he realized that she didn’t feel quite the same way. She didn’t usually put that much thought into her outfits, but tonight it was clear she wanted to look good. What she looked was stunning, but he was so taken back that he forgot to say anything.
Maybe that’s when it changed.
He knew the truth though. It had never been just a single moment. It had been every single day, every moment he spent with her, and everything he said to her. Or more accurately, the lack thereof. All the times he didn’t say how beautiful she looked, or how she radiated joy and love when she laughed. It was all the times that he couldn’t even stand to be around her because of the way she made him feel – so vulnerable and strong all at once. He was too scared of what might happen.
He had never told her how much he had fallen in love with her that night of the party. She had fit in so perfectly, and he had just back and watched her charm everyone in the room without even realizing it. Everyone had their eyes on her and he had done everything in his power to look at anybody but her because he was so scared that he might let slip just how hard he had fallen for her.
After that night everything had changed. She was perfect in every way, like the way she would tie her hair up in the morning and slide across the floor in those big fuzzy socks. She would run her tongue over the small gap in her teeth whenever she was nervous, and if she was tired he could tell by the way she bit her lower lip and ran her fingers through the bottom of her dark curls. She always read with a pen in between her teeth in case she saw something she wanted to underline, or to write witty comments about. Once, when she was out, he flicked though her books and spent the whole afternoon lost in the wit she had added in the margins. His favorite thing was that she wore glasses everywhere except where she needed them most, and it made him smile to think about it.
He still never said anything, though. There would be plenty of time to say all these things later.
Or so he thought.
The moment that he had lost her couldn’t be pinpointed. It wasn’t that day at the pizza place when she had laughed. It wasn’t the night of the party when he had avoided paying attention to her. They had all just added up, like she said, and eventually the moment it began was lost in the middle of it all.
“You used to be so perfect,” she had said. “You always told me how smart, beautiful, and great I was. Then you just…stopped.”
And he had.
He had stopped because before they had just been empty compliments. Then all of a sudden the words weren’t enough anymore. They didn’t mean anything. There were no words to describe…this. No matter what he said or did, it wouldn’t be enough to show how he really felt. Best not to say anything at all, then.
Even at the end he couldn’t say anything. He had nothing to defend himself. She was right, he had never said anything to show that he cared. Never did anything to show he was willing to commit. There was no physical evidence as to how he felt because he had never provided any.
He looked at her at the end, and what he saw took something out of him. The clouds that had guarded her so long were gone. The clarity he craved was there, but it wasn’t happy. It was pain. Anger. Hurt. And perhaps worst of all, disappointment.
The point is that her eyes were clear for the first time in a long time. It was then that he realized that she was better off without him and the clouds he had given her.
Surprisingly, this started out as an article about rain. Then I realized everything I had written was terrible and I was left with only one sentence – and it turned into this. I almost never write fiction – and never voluntarily. I don’t even know how to craft a story, but this is just what came to me and I suppose I have nothing to lose.