B. Ryan Baker
The Loving Lie - Poem by B. Ryan Baker
We turn off the tv, the dvd player, as well as the lights.
Getting up off the couch, I follow her into the bedroom.
Seeing the queen sized bed and box spring, I’m grateful to no longer be sleeping on an inflatable camping mattress.
She’s already in her pajamas and I strip down to my t-shirt and boxers.
I climb on the bed and she’s already under the covers, lifting them up, inviting me in.
I get under the comforter, but on top of the sheet.
She laughs and helps me rearrange the sheet so I can get under it.
I can’t help but smile, too.
She scoots closer to me under the blankets, wrapping one leg around mine and throwing her arm over my chest, gripping my shoulder, holding me close.
In her embrace, I start thinking.
Thinking that this doesn’t feel like I want it to.
Thinking that this isn’t the person I want to be in this situation with.
Thinking that she’s feeling more than I am.
Then realizing that it’s not just a thought.
It’s a fact.
I wrap my arm around her and hold her tight, defying my realization, not wanting to admit it.
She sighs with a smile and seems to melt into me.
I smile and wish I felt the same, but I don’t.
I begin to feel fake and empty laying with her, limbs entangled.
She looks me in the eye, and I gaze back.
“I want to tell you something, and I’m afraid to, but I can’t not a say it any longer, ” the double negative makes me smile.
Her eye contact never breaks as her eyes fill with emotion and compassion; I cannot ignore it.
Her smile is weak and nervous, but completely sincere.
“You don’t have to say it back and I don’t expect you to.”
I knew what was coming.
“I love you, Bryce…but only say it back if-'
“I love you, too, ” I cut her off before she can finish her sentence.
I lie before I even realize I said it.
Her smile warmed my fraudulent heart.
I hated myself even more after that moment.
The seconds that followed our proclamations seemed to draw on forever as her smile kept growing.
Then she leaned in and kissed me passionately.
My lips returned what hers gave, sealing my lie with a kiss.
If I had known at that moment what I know now…
If I knew how everything would turn out, I would have broken her heart right there.
I would have made her cry.
I would have gathered my things and left.
I would have erased her number.
I would have thrown out all the little “I love you” notes I found that she’d leave for me in my wallet and car and in the lunches she’d pack for me for work.
I would have cut up all of the Polaroid’s she took of us, goofy kissing faces, cheek on cheek.
I would have forgotten her face.
I would have forgotten her name.
I didn’t though.
I chose to live the lie.
It’s amazing how a lie can turn to truth.
Now, I’m the one with the broken heart.
I’m the one who hurts every morning I wake up, turning over to no one, as she turns over to only God knows who.
I long for her now. I crave her.
I hold contempt for myself everyday.
This is my doing.
This is my fault.
This love was my lie turned to truth.
This pain, this hurt, I brought on myself.
This is what I get.
This is what I deserve.
This is the life I chose.
...I wish I were someone else.
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