The wind caught my hair and it brushed against my cheek causing me to twitch. I looked across as Graeme again and in that moment knew that I didn’t love him anymore. It was instantaneous, like a curtain had been drawn and the light was suddenly flooding in to a room that had been dark for years. I watched him stirring his coffee with awkward concentration, aware that I was seeing him as he was for the first time. He was average, possibly even slightly below par. His hair had started to recede, his jowls had become loose and thick and as the sun peeked from behind a cloud, I glimpsed the greying of his stubble which I used to believe made him look raggedly handome, now it just made him appear homeless and unkempt.
It wasn’t his physical appeareance that altered my emotions for him though. I thought back to the last time I remembered being happy, and was dismayed to realise it was during my weekend away with Sandrine in France: when Graeme had been left at home because he had refused to step aboard the ferry for fear of sea-sickness. He hadn’t even offered to investigate the alternatives, like catching a plan or going the Euro tunnel. He simply stated he wouldn’t be coming. I considered now the possibility that perhaps I’d chosen the ferry just to make sure he wouldn’t come, so that I could get some time away from him; that even then, eight months ago, I had suspected that our relationship was dying.
I leaned back in my chair and sipped on my tea. We had been quiet for some time, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes. Neither of us would break the silence. All too often this would be our comfort zone: sitting together somewhere without saying a word, no conversation or random comments to make to one another. We had run out of all interesting things to say a long time ago. Now, with a sigh, I understood this to mean that we had stopped caring enough to want to share our thoughts.
His voice startled me. I had almost forgotten we were sat together outside the little bistro cafe, nursing our drinks and watching people pass us by as we took a break from our Saturday shopping.
‘Nothing. Why?’ I responded brusquely.
‘You just seem…’ he hesitated, ‘a little down, that’s all.’
He’d noticed then. I felt myself sneer inwardly and immediately picked up a reactionary thought about it being a minor miracle he’d even bothered to speak to me, as he hardly ever paid me enough attention to know if I was ‘down’ or not. But, half way through I realised that it was unfair of me to judge him like that: he had noticed, he had asked and I didn’t quite comprehend why that made me so angry. Was it that it made it harder to tell him?
He was looking at me expectantly and so I decided to get it over with, before he could be any nicer than usual to me.
‘Graeme. I don’t think we’re really in love with each other any more. I don’t feel like you love me like you did, and I know that I certainly don’t feel the same about you as when I agreed to marry you. I don’t think this is working. I want to cancel the wedding and break up.’
It all came tumbling out at once and, having said it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it back. We sat there in silence once again: Graeme in shocked disbelief at my outburst, me feeling calm and just a little bit refreshed for having the guts to finally share how I knew I’d been feeling for some time.