“You’re breaking up with me.” Her whisper broke through the tense silence, her voice coming out mangled and torn; she really hadn’t thought it’d end like this. She nodded, trying to comprehend his words, wrap her head around them. It hurt her that after all this time he would still do this and that he couldn’t make himself to trust her. She felt like screaming; this was so unfair. She’d given her all to this relationship and he had no right, no right to end it, to finish it like this; through stumbled words and false promises. She blinked back her tears and tried to rein herself in; she was on the precipice of a breakdown, this was agony.
He swallowed the lump in his throat, trying to ignore the deafening silence in the wake of her words. The cut through him, his insides screamed at him to stop this. Everything about this screamed “wrong” but he had to do this; he had to get through this. He willed himself to focus, trying not to let his tears foray. He hadn’t said the actual words, but as usual she’d read between the lines; figured out the meaning. And when her voice had cracked, his gut twisted and took everything in him to control his urge to protect her, shield her, keep her away from anything that hurt her. He’d done the right thing by breaking up, it would’ve hurt more later.
She looked in his eyes, trying to gauge his emotions, hoping to see something; anything. But he was so good at this. At obscuring his emotions when he wanted to. It’d taken her a year of friendship and three years of being his girlfriend to realize something. Arnav Singh Raizada was synonymous to complicated. She didn’t blame him though; with parents like his anyone would be fucked up to their saturation point. She knew he had little faith in long-term relationships and that was the reason behind this break up. Not the shit he’d fed her as a reason for the break up. College relationships don’t last…different careers…wanted different things in life. Bullshit. She knew he was terrified of having to maintain a long distance relationship while they worked on their careers. She knew he was afraid it’d hurt too much later so a clean break was better. She wanted to tell him that it’d be okay, that she had enough faith in their relationship for both of them, that she loved him, but she couldn’t possibly do that when he shut down like this. They had the real thing, why didn’t he get that? She wished he’d take that step forward and atleast try to trust her. The longing burned in her, her throat constricting. She hated that she couldn’t reach out to him, that there was always this one part of himself that he hid from her and that no matter what she did it never came out. Maybe it was better to let go.
He watched her hunched posture, the way her hands gripped her forearms, white with the force they applied. He hated himself for what he’d done. For a fleeting moment he’d wondered if she was crying but she wasn’t. He knew she was strong enough to not collapse in front of him. He wished he could take it all back.
She drew in a deep breath; the silence had stretched long enough. She turned to face him and saw his gaze sear her. Her breath hitched, this was too difficult. Looking inside her she grabbed the final reserve of strength.
He looked at her, his head spinning, his heart beating fast in the most painful of ways. He wished he could stop her, he wished someone would push him to end this madness. He closed his eyes when he felt her lips on his cheek for the briefest instant. A drop of her tears splashed on his cheek and the shuffling of shoes told him she was walking away. The anguish lacerated him, made his heart spasm and everytime he breathed a dull ache followed. He remembered everything, all the times he’d spent with her, her ringing laugh, the way she squirmed under his hold when he tickled her, the way happiness seemed tangible when he was with her; everything. It hurt him physically to see her walk away. What had he been thinking? He couldn’t possibly live without her; it’d be like slow torture. Panic took over him, his brow wet with perspiration and the fear that he had just let her go forever. He was nothing, nothing without her. His need for was too strong; it overpowered his fear of anything else.
She turned back when she heard his voice pierce the quiet as he called out her name. His anguished tone propelled her to turn around. She didn’t bother hiding her tears as they ran ceaselessly down her face. Why was he doing this? Why was he making this so much more painful than it already was? She hated that she couldn’t deny him anything, that she loved him so much. She saw the mad, frenzied look in his eyes, did he regret letting go? She didn’t dare to ignite the flicker of hope, lest it should turn into an all consuming fire that ravaged her. She saw him walk towards her purposefully, his eyes losing the madness bit by bit as they filled with flecks of caramel once more.
He looked at her, her face wet with tears. He winced at what he’d done and walked faster towards her, he had to make her listen. He jogged the last few steps, standing close to her, almost touching as he looked back at her.
Her breaths came fast and shallow, she felt like running away. He looked more calm than he ever had and she closed her eyes for a bit before opening them only to see his eyes misting as the walls came down in a pandemonium of destruction. She saw him destroying them bit by bit, as he stood there rigidly, herculean in his efforts to let go of his demons. She didn’t dare to believe what she saw; it was too much to take in. She stood there motionless, having no idea what to do as his eyes filled up. She saw the conflict in his eyes, saw just how hard it was for him to let go. She knew then, that he’d begun to let go, that he was willing to give them a chance, that he loved her too much to see her walk away.
So when he whispered “Stay” a centimeter away from her lips, she whispered a yes. And when he kissed her, she flung her arms around him.