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This Time by dee
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So why don't you close the door when you're leaving me?

You never do. I've noticed it. I've had plenty of time to notice. Plenty of opportunities. Plenty of experience.

Hardly need to tell you you do it, because you do it on purpose. Don't you? It's supposed to look like careless rage, hurt making you clumsy or something. But I know better. You want the door ajar so I can see you packing. Hear you slamming the drawers as you clean out your stuff, hurl it into a suitcase.

The sounds draw me to the doorway every single time and I stand there, watching. You know that too because you see me there, even when I'm standing far back, even when you pretend not to.

Sometimes you stop packing and scream at me, and that's when it's not really serious. When you want me to talk you out of going. Be gentle, kiss your tears away. Or insist, and kick the suitcase off the bed, lay you out on it, fuck you blind.

But when you pretend not to have seen me, that's when it's bad. You just keep going, inexorable, and I play a game with myself. How long can I last? You always pack the same way; I guess you've done it often enough to have a routine. Shoes in the bottom. Jeans, pants, jackets, then shirts.

I don't know what comes after that. That's the furthest I've ever got before I couldn't watch any more. You know that. You know it as well as I do. That moment, when you lay in the suitcase the red shirt I bought you in Hong Kong, that's the moment. Sometimes I kick the door open, and there's a dent in the plaster still from the last time. Sometimes I open it quietly. But always what comes after is the same.

I reason.

I compromise.

I ask.

I entreat.

I plead.

I beg.

I end up on my fucking knees.

Sometimes I'm more eloquent than others; I convince you, and you stay.

Other times I fail. You deny me. And I flee the house you're leaving me in. Get away and don't come back until I'm drunk and you're gone. But you're never hard to find, and I get you back, or you come back. We work things out. Carry on. Until the next time.

The make-up sex is fantastic.

But sometimes I wonder whether it's worth standing in front of this ajar door.

This time, you're ignoring me, packing with vehemence etched in every limb, every line of your face.

Why didn't you tell me, I'd asked.

Do I have to tell you everything, you'd shot back at me.

This isn't like you, I'd accused.

You don't know anything about me, you'd replied.

And it's true. It's all true.

So this time, when you reach for that red shirt, I'm already moving. But I leave the door be. I'm marching down the hall, out the front door, into dazzling sunlight. You're calling my name after me, and that's never happened before, but this time is different.

This time is different.

Because you don't tell me everything.

Because you don't let me know anything about you.

Because you don't love me, or even need me.

You're fine by yourself.

When you're here I can never get in. Not really. Not in behind your eyes where you truly live. Once I thought I could. Maybe I was simply peering through a door ajar, watching the show you chose to put on. Maybe it's only now that I realise the door was always closed. Closed against me. Closed when you were here.

So why don't you close the door when you're leaving me?