Short Story: I Know When You Stopped Loving Me

by Daniel Nkado

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

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

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

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

Then you only laughed when texting someone on your phone, and I knew that person wasn’t me, because I was sitting right next to you on the couch.

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

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

You 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 you used to say that this was your favorite part of the day. Then you started going out more, with “co-workers” you once called scumbags, and “old college friends” you’d lost touch with.

I noticed when you started staying late after work, supposedly working extra hours when you 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.

You used to be fun, experimental and spontaneous, and now you have been putting off sex as much as possible, faking your orgasms whenever we did it.

You are not as great of an actress as you think you are.

I noticed when you came home smelling of another man’s cologne, wearing your “cousin Pete’s” jacket.

But I know Pete still dressed like a youngster and not like an Armani model, and that his clothing was several sizes smaller.

I knew that that jacket was anyone’s but Pete’s.

I noticed when you had new expensive clothing and new expensive jewelry, saying you went shopping with Laura and that your brother Chris gave you 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 you always used to call “posh and overrated.”

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

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

I noticed that you wasn’t as happy as you seemed when I saw you the next month crying as you crossed the street.

I was walking home from work, and you might not have known that I’d seen you.

I noticed that you had a diamond ring on your finger a year after you left me, when we meet at the café for coffee.

I’m engaged, you told me.

But your eyes didn’t sparkle like they used to when you texted him while sitting on my couch.

There wasn’t a fond smile when you finally told me about him.

When you said, “His name is Emmanuel, and he’s pretty nice.”

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

That you have missed me.


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