I’m afraid of you now.

If she counts backwards from ten to one, it somehow makes the thing she’s doing seem more immediate, important, unavoidable, exciting than if she counts from one to ten. Because, if we’re being honest with each other, all we really want to do is get to zero.

It’s hot. All the windows are shut. The fan is on and blowing recycled air into my face. Sun on the cars, in the trees, in the grass, and there’s even some wind. But I can’t hear the sounds the world makes, and so I press the handle of the teacup to my mouth, rub the microwave-safe white across my lip, just to feel something.

What if I come back, and you’re not there?

Anaïs Nin thinks the reason behind every work of art is the artist’s attempt to create a world in which she can live. I’m not sure I’d want to live in the worlds I’ve created, which are more or less the same as the one I inhabit. What would that solve? And where would I go when it’s over? All the objects of my universe seem to align and shout, Create no more! And the worlds crumble like dead leaves in my hands.

Sing. Sometimes all I want is to lie between cool sheets in the dark, shut my eyes, and have him sing me to sleep. Sing, and lie down at my side, and pretend the dreams will still be there when we wake up.

I could say I can’t believe you’re doing this to me, but you are. And I believe every hollow drip of it.

She could say this isn’t how she thought it’d all turn out. She could say she keeps reminding herself it isn’t over yet. She could say she hopes for more, or she doesn’t, but all that matters is this. This. And that makes this seem like it doesn’t matter at all.

It shouldn’t be this hard. But I feel like I’ve lost something, though I don’t know what, and so I don’t know how to get it back. Nor do I know if I want to or if I should, let alone if I even can. But drifting hardly seems like a viable option, a colorful conclusion, an honorable way to spend the time. You would think that so much negative space would fill up like a sponge plunged into water, but all that comes is air and more air, until I’m so saturated with oxygen I can no longer breathe.

I’m not afraid anymore. And that terrifies me.