I’m leaving, now
A short story about relationships and their meaning
« Does it bother you that they want to tag along ?
– How do you mean ?
– When you say one day you’ll leave for London. And they say: « you’ll make us end up in London ». Does it bother you that they feel invited ?
– No. Why should it ? They’re my family.
– It bothers me. When I say: « I’ll leave » and she says « I need to find a job there, I could open a bed and breakfast or start an import business ». I feel … violated is a strong word but it’s close enough, so it will do.
– Why ? This should reassure you.
– I’m not insecure about the relationship. If I leave, I want to leave alone. A fresh start.
– You don’t care about her enough.
– Maybe I don’t.
She looked at me and asked, curious: ‘You said you wanted me to come »
– I did.
– Did you feel violated when you invited me ?
– It was my decision, you didn’t force yourself on me.
– What if I said yes ?
I remained silent. I wanted her to come with me. I needed her around me. When she was away it was painful. I didn’t think about her husband or her kids. When she was with me, what we had… this went beyond husbands and girlfriends. I needed that. I needed her. I needed us.
– Would you ? I asked
– Probably not.
– I’m ok with it. I’ll leave anyways. I’d like for you to be there with me, on the plane. And finding a new flat and living on a mattress on the floor for a while. For the while it would take us to figure things out. But if you’re not there, I’ll sleep on the floor alone and I’ll like it, too. Because what matters is to leave.
I didn’t know how much of that was true. Not being with her while she lived half an hour away was one thing. Not being with her six thousand miles away was something else.
But I meant it. Either way, I would leave. The difference would be the amount of tears I’d cry.
– So, that’s it, then ?
– No. This, the bound we share, I can’t feel complete without you anymore. When I write I write for you. When I imagine stories, I wonder what you would think of them. When I listen to songs that touch me, I want to share them with you. Because you make them more meaningful. Because I like the way you react to them and the way you add to them.
– You’re in love.
– I’m not. It’s what we have. This creative bound. You’re the one who called me soul mate.
– Because you thought of it.
– That’s your answer ? I know you didn’t play me. I know you were sincere. I know we’ve found each other after a long search. All the beacons I’ve sent in the world. They were destined to you. All the journey that precedes it was meant to build me for you.
– You’re getting ridiculous.
– I don’t care. You feed me. You nourish my imagination and my creativity. You ignite sparkles in me and I can’t stop them from spreading all over my brain. You welcome them with your open arms and you know how to steer them.
– I’m your guardian, then. I protect you from your madness.
– Why don’t you want to admit that what we have is unique and precious and rare ?
– Oh, but I do. I admit it.
– So, leave with me!
– I won’t. I have a family.
– They’ll be fine.
– You don’t know that.
– Ok. Fine. Don’t come.
I turned away. We remained silent for a short while. She took my hand.
– Why don’t you stay ?
– I can’t. You know I’ll die if I stop moving.
– Don’t you think that’s just an idea that you’re entertaining ?
– No, I can feel it. When I stop to move, I begin to shrivel. My brain dries up. My body slumps.
She let go of my hand.
– When are you leaving ?
– I don’t know. Next month ? Next year ? Not much later.
– What about all the things you have here ?
– They’ll be fine without me.
– What about the people ?
– They’ll forget.
– But will they forgive ?
– I’m free of guilt now, so I’ll be fine even if they don’t.
– There’s really no way I can convince you to stay ?
– There’s really no way I can convince you to leave ?
The discussion was over. We were at a dead-end.