She laid in the bed wide awake. She could hear him lightly snoring and wondered how he could sleep so peacefully. She tossed and turned every night with the same thoughts haunting her brain. Even the music she blasted through her ear buds couldn't block out the thoughts. She glanced at the clock, 2:07 AM. She had to be up in less than four hours. She flipped on her side and looked at him. She studied his peaceful face. His stubble was just starting to grow in. His chest would slowly move up and down with every breath he took. She wanted to cry. She didn’t want to hurt him anymore.
He had to know something was wrong. He had to see that their relationship wasn’t what it used to be. But he didn’t. She knew this and that’s what killed her. She saw the way he looked at her every time she came in the room. It was the same look he had on his face when he saw her getting in the car on their first date. He didn’t notice that she didn’t have that look for him anymore. When he entered the room, her face no longer glowed and her eyes did not widen. She didn’t laugh at his little jokes anymore. She was lucky if she could even crack a fake smile in his direction. She rolled back over and looked at the clock, 2:22 AM. She looked at the photograph above the clock. The picture was of them and their friends all sitting around a campfire. Everyone in the photo was smiling and looking at the camera, except for him. He was staring at her with this gaze that described exactly what love looked like. She closed her eyes tightly and tried to fall asleep.
He woke up with a small jolt. He looked at his phone, 4:12 AM. It was the third time this week he had had the same dream, and every time the outcome was the same. He looked up at the ceiling fan spinning above him. She didn’t love him, and he knew that. He wasn't sure what to do anymore. He was angry, but not just at her, but with himself. He hated that he still loved her. How do you love a person who doesn’t love you? How is that fair? What sane person can do that? She looked at him and saw this person. He looked at her and he saw every little thing he fell for: the little blonde streaks in her hair, the way she giggles every time she sees a dog, the way she brushes her hair exactly twenty two times every morning. These are things he saw when he looked at her. But when she looked at him, her eyes were hollow.
At 6:00 AM, the alarm clock went off. He heard her as she got ready for work. He waited for her to get in the shower before he got out of bed. He made his way into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He wiped away the fog on the mirror from the steam. Halfway through brushing his teeth he heard something. He stopped brushing and listened. He could hear her; she was crying. He could hear her sobbing quietly. He looked at himself in the mirror until the fog covered his face again. He finished brushing his teeth and went back into the bedroom.
She turned the water off and stepped out of the shower. She wiped the mirror and looked at herself. She studied her eyes. It didn’t look like she was crying. He wouldn't notice. She got dressed and walked out of the bathroom. When she got back to the bedroom, she saw him sitting on the bed. He was facing the wall, opposite of her direction. She grabbed her bag and started out the door.
“I’ll see you later,” she said, looking back at him. He didn’t respond. She turned towards the door and left for work. The front door slammed. She was annoyed at first but then a little confused. It made her wonder if he was mad at her. Maybe he was realizing the truth.
She felt somewhat uncomfortable from it. It made her feel sad but she could not help feel a bit of relief. If he knows then maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe it will make everything go smoother. Maybe the two of them would be able to talk things over and come to an understanding. There was no reason why it couldn’t end with them still being friends, with them still calling each other on the holidays, even stopping to have a friendly conversation at the grocery store if they bumped into each other.
“That could be good,” she said out loud to herself. She smiled for a second and stopped. She knew it would not be that easy and knew it would be more complicated than that. She knew he was not aware of the failure of their relationship. But she hoped it would still end well. Even though she was not in love with him anymore, she would always love and care for him. She parked her car and headed into work, without thinking of him again.
She got back home from work and headed into the house. She made her way towards the bedroom. When she opened the door, she was stunned. Her bag fell to her feet. She looked around the room; half the things were missing. There was a piece of paper on her pillow with her name written on it. She went over and picked it up. She read it once and cried, and then read it again, and again. She couldn’t stop reading, or crying. She got to the end of the letter and stared at the last sentence. A tear had slightly smudged it but she could still make out what it said. She sobbed and read it aloud.
“Goodbye, my love.”