“When will I stop having to prove myself to you?”
Eyes bleak, voice hard, Tanim spits the accusation in my face. His lips twist in a sneer but I can’t tell which emotion dominates, the rage or the misery. Is it better in this moment to honor his trust by telling the truth, no matter how painful it may be, or would a well-meaning lie ease us away from this edge on which we find ourselves suddenly balanced? I know which answer he wants but it’s not one I can give. I won’t lie to him this time and so I’ve nothing to say, nothing to offer, and when I don’t reply Tanim drops his gaze to the hand clenched white-knuckled around my wrist. I can see the struggle in his eyes between the need to vent his wounded anger and the desire to give in this time as well, to just let the moment pass so we can go back to being unhappy together instead of apart.
“Right,” Tanim exhales and the anger seems to dwindle to mere exhaustion, the inferno cooled to a burning coal. “Fine.” His fingers unwrap one by one, as if he’s loathe to relinquish this one chance to demand answers, to be the one in control for once, but then my wrist is free and he turns from me; retreating or leaving me behind, I can’t be sure. Either way, I know he’ll push this moment away. Tonight we’ll still sleep in the same bed and we may even hold each other, albeit in a heavier silence than usual. But the words will still linger, both the said and unsaid, and neither can be taken back.