"I thought you'd missed it."
"Yeah, I did." She sighed. The longing in her voice was clear as she continued. "I missed it. More than I could say. But I keep having this feeling that it's not genuine, that it's my fault for ever mentioning anywhere that I do miss it. That I somehow gave her the idea that if she went back to it, we'll be okay."
"Did you mention it to her?"
"No." She let out a strangled sob. "I didn't want her to feel like I'm expecting it, like she should be doing it."
His voice was quizzical when he spoke. "Then why on earth do you think you had anything to do with it?"
"I don't know." She would've done anything in that moment to be smaller or disappear entirely, but the best she could do was to remain curled, pressing her folded legs to her chest. "I was saying something about us being back to needing her to chase me, about being back to needing to be talked into talking. I keep thinking that maybe it's all my fault for even saying any of it. Granted, she asked me what to do, but..."
"So she asked you what to do, you told her, and now you're feeling guilty that she is?" He snorted. "Does this whole thing make any sort of sense to you?"
She sniffed. Tears blurred her sight. "I didn't tell her to do this," She whispered. "I didn't want her to do this because she thinks I'm expecting it. And now she is. I don't want that."
"Who says she does it because she thinks you're expecting it?"
"It's obvious," She said flatly. "She hasn't done it in, what, two and a half months? Then suddenly it's back about two days after we had that conversation. You think it's a coincidence?"
"You forgot to mention that in those two days you've had a complete meltdown," He pointed out, his voice dry. "That you've spent those two days talking about wishing you didn't exist. You don't think that had anything to do with it?"
"Why should it?" Her voice remained emotionless. "It didn't matter before when I said it."
"Except for how it started."
"So, what, you think I'm just telling myself that because I enjoy it?" She asked cynically. "Yeah, sure, I was just looking for more ways to feel bad, thanks for making me see it!"
She couldn't see it, with her back turned to him, but she knew he was rolling his eyes. "Or, maybe, you're just looking for reasons to pull back, and your guilt supplies you with the perfect way to do that."
"I don't want to pull back."
"There's a part of you that doesn't. The same part that feels warmth every time you see that text. But there's a part of you that was hurt and doesn't want to keep getting hurt. That feels like it's been hurt enough, like maybe you're better off alone. And the guilt you feel constantly just gives it the way to."
"I'm tired of this pain." There was a hint of desperation in her voice. "I'm tired of pain. I'm tired of guilt. I'm tired of all of it. I want to believe. I just..."
"You're scared," He said softly.
"Yeah." She reached up to her eyes and quickly wiped away her tears. "And I can't stop thinking that maybe it's my fault. It's that tiny doubt, that guilt, and I can't stop it. I just want it to go away and leave me alone but I can't. Sometimes I think guilt is all I can feel. Guilt and fear."
"That's all you've learned your entire life," He reminded her. "But the world doesn't revolve around you."
"Thanks," She said sarcastically. "Just what I needed."
"It's true, though. An abused or neglected child doesn't blame his parents; he blames himself. Everything becomes his fault. But in life not everything is about us. Most things have nothing to do with us. The world doesn't revolve around you. It's the same way you used to think he reads your blog. Why on earth would he do that?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know because he wouldn't. The world doesn't revolve around you. He didn't leave because of you. She doesn't do this because she thinks you expect it. None of it is about you."
"You don't know that."
For a long moment, he said nothing, and she started wondering whether he'd given up the argument. Eventually, though, he said, "Then tell her to stop."
She started shaking as she sobbed. "But I don't want her to stop," She managed, digging her nails into her skin. "I... I need it. I need her."
"So what difference does it make why she's doing it?" He asked softly.
"I don't know, I just... I feel..."
"Guilty." He finished. "You're so scared of taking space in anyone's life that every time you're given something you feel guilty. And you try to pull away, even when you desperately need that space. But the world doesn't revolve around you. Not everything is your fault. And you deserve that space."
She shook her head. "I just can't take this bloody guilt. It's everywhere. It becomes everything. It's like a cancer, spreading through my brain. I'm tired of it. That's why I enjoyed Don Juan In Soho so much, you know? Guilt-free. I'd give anything for some guilt-free time." She sighed. "I just wish I could enjoy it without feeling like it's somehow my fault. And at the same time I'm too afraid to ask, because then she might stop, and I need it so badly right now. That's the sad truth of my life, isn't it? I'm feeling scared and guilty and everything's my fault and those fear and guilt only make everything worse. Maybe that's all I'm capable of."
אולי זה באמת כל מה שאני מסוגלת להרגיש.