“I will not come and see you tomorrow.”
“Why not? Last week it seemed important to you to talk to me.”
“I sit here, crying.”
“I am very sorry but I can’t afford those breakdowns.”
“There are people here I have to be strong for. I have to keep working for their sake.”
“This really sounds like we need to talk.”
“Of course you can. You just have a habit of backing out last minute.”
It took some time until I composed myself and replied.
“Sorry. I should not have lost control like that. I will try and meet you tomorrow after we are done with the program.”
But there was no talk on the following day. The White Queen and I had stumbled on some irregularites in our grant’s finances, uncovering that the accounting up till now had been a huge mess and took the matter into our own hands. I met the Witcher briefly in the hallway, when he was on his way home. There was a Christmas party planned for the evening, but he had decided not to attend it and I was feeling huffy about it. We kept an awkward distance, all the unspoken words of the night before standing between us and I deliberately did not hug him goodbye.
On the day before the Christmas holidays I invited him to the house I had just bought, which was located in between my hometown and the town he grew up in.
I showed him around and then, of course, tried to pull out again at the last moment. He didn’t let me. When I tried to rush past him out of the room he blocked the door and said I wouldn’t get out before I told him why I had been acting so weird for the past few days.
I went to the other side of the empty room. He was standing in the doorway, in his black coat and red scarf I love so much on him.
Sighin, I said: “I am second to no one. You are my most important friend and confidant. Do you know how many men would gladly be where you are? But I am accostumed to making that choice myself. However, if you would rather bang your student instead, we will go separate ways sooner or later.”
“Okay, first of all, I didn’t bang anyone.”
“What, you didn’t? I thought you’d been on a date together.”
“Our definition of date seems to differ.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter! You will soon stop having time for me.”
“I will always have time for you! How can you be mad about something that has not even happened?”
“Well, maybe because I’m a little more experienced in how those things go!”
It was harsh of me to put it like that. It was my hurt pride speaking. I could just have said: “I love you and it hurts to see someone else have you because I just can’t.”
When we had arrived at our cars he hugged me goodbye and told me not to be silly, over and over again, looking into my eyes while still holding me tight. It was the first right step he took in making me feel better.
It would have been easy to take the next few, but while he was very good in reasonable and logical things he just as much lacked empathy. How could he not see that I was afraid to lose him? All he had to do was take in in his arms and tell me that I would always be most important to him and if we could he would be together with me but that he had to settle with what was possible. It would have been so easy. He made hints, yes, but I wanted him to tell me. I wanted to hear him say that no one could take my place.
I even tried to nudge him towards it. He only apologized and said he was very bad with interpersonal issues. I told him that the hug had been a good start.
I am quite sure what all of you are thinking now…
“She just wants him because someone else has him.”
Believe me, I have come to that conclusion myself. As a consequence I tried to sit it out. To be a good sport about it. But the pain I felt when hearing him talking about her, even though it was never much he said – the pain was so very real. It did not feel like greed. It felt like a heavy weigh resting on my chest, cutting off any words and pressing tears into my eyes.
How could I be so sad if I had everything I ever wanted – a husband, a sweet daughter, a home and a job i loved – just because one thing was missing?