In the mornings, I avoided the thought, when I woke on the warm side of a bed and later, as the dog scratched at the door. Breakfast, he begged. God damn – take a breath Juno, we moaned back, our faces pressed into pillows.
The familiarity of our life – I wanted to preserve. To keep our brewed coffee and the smell of bacon wafting from the kitchen. I wanted the comfort of our moth-filled pantry, and the coat draped over the staircase.
But, at night, the thought consumed me.
How could I do this? I asked myself. How can I be this cruel?
Mostly, how did we get here?
We’d only just gotten engaged. Hadn’t I stayed because I knew this was inevitable?
How could I be so careless to proceed so deep into a partnership, only to leave as it budded?
We’d moved into our house a year ago, together. Sweaty and bickering over decorative pillows.
Hadn’t I loved it? Hadn’t I chosen this?
So why was I staring out the kitchen window at night, scrubbing dishes, forgetting to soap the sponge.
Why did I land in JFK airport, at 6pm, and take a deep breath – free.
Why was my ring left near the sink when I walked out for the day.
Didn’t I love this person, when he stood over the stove, and I watched quietly from the door.
Didn’t I call him, in every inordinary day that I had a passing idea for the future?
I had actively participated in every choice that created this life – so why did I feel like now I had no choices left.
Hadn’t I said that I’d face my issues around money? Hadn’t we united when my parents screamed ‘no’?
Why, when we talked about weddings, my legs up on the dash of a car, did I brush it over for the podcast episode?
Why, at night, did I search images of vans and write endlessly about everything other than love in my relationship. Why did I leave the Instagram wedding dress collaborations unanswered?
I never wanted to get this far, I said. I don’t know how we did.
You chose it, he looks at me. You chose all of this – now you made it a mess.
I realized one afternoon, I only liked what we did – and not who we were, together.
I felt it, as he stood over the seeds and sprinkled them into the dirt.
“I don’t want to still be here when they sprout.”
I recognized that at some point, in some month, during some day, and in one hour,
That I was staying for the things we did in life –
And not for the way I felt.
I don’t want to be married,
And for that, my beautiful fiancé,
My God —
I will always be sorry.