Wednesday, February 21


Short Story: I Know When She Stopped Loving Me

by James Noah

I noticed when she stopped looking at me like she used to.

She used to look at me like I was the most amazing person to walk this earth. Her words, not mine. Then she started looking at me without emotion. If she looked at me at all.

I noticed when her laughs became few and far between, sounding extremely forced when she happened to do so.

She used to laugh at everything. Me, our cats, our favorite TV shows, she used to be the happiest person ever.

Then she only laughed when texting someone on her phone, and I knew that person wasn’t me, because I was sitting on the couch with her.

And for the first time in five years, we weren't touching.

I noticed when she started going out more and staying home less.

She used to curl up on the couch to read Stephen King novels and drink cheap wine while Modern Family played in the background as I fiddled with my computer.

Those were our evenings, and she used to say that this was her favorite part of the day. Then she started going out more, with “co-workers” she once called dipshits, and “old college friends” she'd lost touch with.

I noticed when she started staying late after work supposedly working extra hours when she used to be the type who would climb out the window or pretend to be giving birth just to leave work early.

I noticed when we stopped having sex.

She used to be fun, experimental and spontaneous, and now she was putting off sex as much as possible, faking her orgasms whenever we did it. She isn't as great of an actress as she thinks she is.

I noticed when she came home smelling of another man’s cologne, wearing her “cousin Todd’s” jacket.

But I knew that Todd still dressed like a hipster and not like an Armani model, and that Todd’s clothing was several sizes smaller.

I knew that that jacket was anyone's but Todd's.

I noticed when she had new expensive clothing and new expensive jewelry, saying she went shopping with Laura and that her brother Chris gave her an early Christmas present.

Chris couldn't afford a gold necklace or diamond earrings. Laura’s fashion sense consisted solely of Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters, none of which sell the cashmere sweaters that she always used to call “posh and overrated.”

I noticed when one day all her stuff was gone and she left our apartment, leaving me a voicemail apologizing and saying that she knew that I knew.

I noticed that she was happier without me when I saw her in a café just weeks later, all smiles and bubbly.

I noticed that she wasn't as happy as she seemed when I saw her the next month crying as she crossed the street.

I was walking home from work, and she might not have known that I'd seen her.

I noticed that she had a diamond ring on her finger a year after she left me, when we were grabbing coffee together.

She’s engaged, she told me.

But her eyes didn't sparkle like they used to when she texted him while sitting on my couch.

There wasn't a fond smile when she told me about him.

When she said, “His name is Emmett, and he’s pretty nice.”

I noticed something must be wrong when she called me one night and asked if she could come over.

That she misses me.


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