I didn’t fall out of love

I didn’t fall out of love.

Not with you.

It wasn’t sudden.

It happened one cruel word at a time.

One cold gesture at a time.

One unkindness at a time.

One exclusion at a time.

One piece of mean “sarcasm” at a time.

One lie at a time.

One day… at a time.

It wasn’t sudden.

It wasn’t quiet.

I spoke. I begged. I pleaded.

I wrote. I asked. I cried.

You sliced deeper. You laughed.

They laughed with you.

It wasn’t quiet.

In the noise, right next to you, I slipped away quietly.

With every fleeting kindness, I hoped… at first.

I would stop slipping… stop breathing.

I would hold my grip and my breath.

I would wait… is it…?

Can we mend it?

Maybe…

Then it would come. It always came.

The cruel slice. The laughter.

Slowly, slowly, I learnt.

It would always come.

You ripped my heart out slowly for your audience.

You squeezed my lungs so I couldn’t breathe…

For your audience.

You stripped me naked of skin and clothes.

For your audience.

They loved it.

You loved it.

What a show.

What a showman.

You were incredible.

“The greatest showman.”

Slowly, slowly…

During the show.

Slowly, I slipped away.

You slipped away.

We slipped away.

You ripped out the last piece before your beloved audience.

Did you know it was the last piece?

Did you know if I would die?

I did and I didn’t.

At first, I thought it was death.

Surely, this pain was death.

And then another thought…

Surely, death was better.

This was it. I stopped fighting. I let go…

Let death take me. I was finally ready.

It didn’t.

I didn’t die.

A new heart budded and grew in the old space.

It didn’t know you.

One patch at a time, my skin grew back.

This new skin didn’t recognise your touch.

In the din of your audience’s applause, I finally went deaf.

Deaf to you.

Deaf to them.

Deaf to care.

I had unloved you.

“I did not unlove you overnight.”

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