The small cross was sitting slightly above her bosom glimmering in the candlelight of the dimly lit restaurant. Her smile was disarming and calming all at the same time. A year ago today we spent Valentine’s Day on the top floor of my favorite hotel. It was the last time I saw her. Naked, vulnerable, crying, she told me without telling me that she was leaving me to be with someone else.
Wait, that’s not right. She told me she was never really with me, just pitying me. Just intrigued by someone different from her usual. Her laugh was sad but mocking in those moments after her words cut me.
In that moment I didn’t think it was possible to hate a woman, to a hate a human being more than I hated her. It’s life to have a woman not love you like she once did, it’s life to have her want more than what you can provide. But the worse feeling in the world outside of death or heartbreak is pity.
Hiding my feelings deep inside, willing my eyes not to show what my heart was feeling, I focused on her cross. Maybe she thought I was looking at her breast that sat so perfectly in the black blouse. Maybe she thought my mind was on all the moments when I couldn’t keep my hands and tongue off of her. I was fine with her thinking that because it was better than her knowing the truth. I focused on the thin diamond cross hanging from her neck because to look into her eyes for too long would be baring my soul to a woman that almost broke me.
“I know you still love me.” When she said it she was looking down at the menu, the wine glass to her lips. No smirk, no smile, just words floating over our booth in the corner.
How was it possible to love someone you hated? Could love and hate coexist? Could the desire to want to choke her out of passion and pleasure live with the desire to want to choke the life out of her? That smile told me I wasn’t good enough, those lips drove a dagger through my heart that I still walk with. But those same lips are Heaven on earth, those lips I worship with each taste and feel and to tell myself otherwise would be lying to myself. “I can never love you like you love me but I do miss you, I am still your biggest fan.” She stood up and walked around sitting next to me, her head on my shoulder, her hand on my thigh.
“Find a woman that can give you the life you deserve. We’re no good for each other, I’ll always hate you for wanting more of me than I can give and you’ll always hate me for not needing you. Our hate and resentment make for great sex but love isn’t supposed to hurt. The only time you smile is when you’re inside of me or you’re watching me read your writing. The sort of man you are, you need to tell the world about me, you need to put me on a pedestal and have me shine for you. I can’t do that, I’ll never do that.” The more she talked, she tighter she squeezed against me. Using her touch to shield me from the harsh truth of her words.
“This isn’t us, sitting in a restaurant, drinking wine. Being normal… I took my panties off in the car because I know that’s what you need from me. I called my office and told them I wouldn’t be back after lunch because I knew you’d get a hotel room knowing I’d have to be gone by five. We’ll never get married or have children or post Facebook statuses about each other. We’ll creep and lie and fight and cry and hate that no one will come close to bringing out so much passion of you. And one day I’ll just be a woman you used to know. And one day I’ll show up to a book signing and all these memories will come rushing back to us. Our story isn’t lovey dovey, it’s angry and spiteful and rated x.”
Kissing her midsentence, knowing everything she was saying was true I paid for the wine and placed the hotel key in her hand. I’d spend Valentine’s Day with a sweet girl that wanted to have my sons and wear my last name. She’d spend Valentine’s Day with a man that could move earth for her, put her on first class flights and change her life. But today we’d have each other and pretend we weren’t the sinners we were.