There are things I wish I said to you, that I probably told you once, or maybe three times—or maybe I didn’t say them, but should have—that I wish I could say one last time.
There are things I never thought I’d wish to say to you, that sometimes I may have thought, but that were only thoughts I pushed away, that I wish I could say out loud now more than ever.
It’s such a confusing feeling, really. Being taught your whole life that love and hate are opposites, but being unable to shake the feeling that they are synonymous, impossibly able to exist separately.
I loved the way you’d squeeze my hand three times, signifying I love you, before falling asleep each night, and how when I’d squeeze back four times, you’d squeeze five, reminding me that if I went six, you’d go seven, because you always loved me more, always and forever.
I hate you even though deep down I dream of you knocking on my door and deeper down realizing I shouldn’t answer and even deeper down knowing I always would.
I loved the way you’d always buy Starbursts for me, but you’d eat all of the red ones, because you knew I hated them; and the pink ones—my favorite—you’d always steal a handful, maybe two, and lie and say you didn’t because you thought I’d be mad but then apologize since you had the best of intentions but just couldn’t resist because they were also your favorite.
I hate the way that you played me, that I let myself let you let me feel that it was my fault, that I bickered with you too much, that I was nagging, that I was simply a platform for you to perch while you caught your breath after coming into yourself, when in reality you couldn’t resist fucking the next person you clicked with simply because you weren’t sure you could remain with your first.
I loved the way you’d leave notes for me; inside wallets, drawers, lunches, with sweet nothings for no reason just because, and the time you sent me flowers to work, saying thanks for the weekend, that it couldn’t have been better, that you wanted to go away every weekend, that we couldn’t be going any better.
I hate rolling over in bed searching through all the pillows for the you that isn’t there.
I loved the way your head would always tilt and nudge my shoulder, indicating that you wanted me to scratch your neck, your head, and you sort of purred like a cat with pleasure when I did, and that always made me smile.
I hate that I don’t know anything about you, that I used to know everything about you, and now you could be in a different state, married with kids, with the same asshole you left me for, or you could be alone, ashamed of how you abandoned me, too scared to reach back out, and in the same city only a mile apart but stubbornness the reason you never find out that I’d actually forgive you.
I loved the way you’d blow up my phone, how I’d get off work and have four missed calls, fourteen text messages, all because you missed me and wanted me to come home so we could make tea, walk around the park as we exchanged our days, and eventually end up in the jacuzzi so you could kiss me at sunset.
I hate the way I cringe when I open lunch bags, still pretending there would actually be kind words inside.
I loved the way we carved our first pumpkins, how we cut too far, and the jack-o-lantern face fell in, but we scraped out the pumpkin seeds and baked them with Sriracha seasoning and watched Orange is the New Black and made a plan to try again next year, for there were many more pumpkins to carve, more traditions to create and mess up and fix the following years.
I hate the way I let your actions get under my skin, dictate my happiness, create the monster that would bang on your new bedroom door—the guest room door—despite its lock. And you’d scream for me to leave, to stop, that you’d leave if I didn’t stop and I didn’t stop, and you packed a bag, pushed me aside, let me beg for you to come back all the way down the stairs until you drove off to that boys house who made the screaming start while leaving me standing in the driveway, the rain.
I loved the way you used to call me boo bear in text messages followed by an emoji blowing a heart.
I hate the way I let you win, how you asked for space and I should have given you space, but instead I searched for the answers to the questions you made my mind conjure up yet you wouldn’t give them, space you’d space, give you space, but how the hell can I give you space when you sleep under the same sheets as me? And so I gave you the opposite of space, I screamed for you to find someone who would fuck better, I took the deodorant on the counter and flung it at your face, and yes I missed on purpose because I loved your face, but no I’m not sorry for the hole left in the wall, I’d do it again in a second, so fuck you.
I loved the way you went camping on the beach with me even though it was 29 degrees and we only had a tiny heated blanked and a small fire and I burnt the soup I was making and we shivered all night, hungry and freezing, but you never let go of me, not once.
I hate the way that I’m sitting here writing this, as if you’ll always have a hold on me, even in my reflections, which are supposed to be therapeutic, but rather they end up haunted, repetitive, recycled to the point of insanity, and then I resist the urge to stalk you on social media but I don’t resist, and then again.
I loved the way you’d always get mad at me when I talked during a movie, asking questions that would eventually be answered in time if I would just be patient; but you always answered them anyway, after snapping at me, because you saw how much it bothered me not knowing these irrelevant things, but really I just liked talking to you, and then you’d pull me into your arms and kiss my forehead, placing your index finger on my lips, making me feel less guilty for interrupting the silence.
I hate the way you stopped squeezing my hand three times when I’d squeeze yours, that you couldn’t create a façade for the sake of my sanity. How I sat there frozen, a stone, unable to explain to you how this re-broke me, shattering my being into too many pieces to count.
I loved the way you made chocolate covered strawberries and popped champagne for me the day I got back from my first summer in Portugal, my body barely able to consume the treats for you wouldn’t let go of me, scared for me to ever leave again—the irony.
I hate the way that I can’t turn back time, that you won’t love me like you said, until the day I die.
I loved you, and I think I still do, even though I don’t know what that word means anymore.
I hate that in reflection, in remembering, love has gone to loved, for a shift in tense equates loss, and the loss of love equates hate, and for the hate I feel to be hated, something that only used to be felt, I’d need for you to knock on my door.
I hate that you may make me forever wait for that knock.
I hate even more that I may let myself wait for it.
Phillip Wenturine is a middle school English teacher, where his job description is to change the world, but in reality it's babysitting while on the endless struggle to end comma splices. He has published other short fiction and non-fiction in Aurora Magazine as well as self-published a multi-genre anthology that is taught at the University of North Florida. He is about to graduate with his MFA in creative writing from Eastern Kentucky University where his residencies took place in Lisbon, Portugal. Phillip enjoys a large goblet of sangria on the weekends, and the color orange makes him smile.