Silence stretches. Endless expanse of quiet, solemn silence, far too much space for thoughts and self-recrimination. But quiet. It has been quiet.
The first day was full of dread, nerves strung taut like wires awaiting unpleasant vibration. Sleep was broken, unsettled, the fragments of remembered dreams all about plans that went awry, connections that were missed resulting in breakage of bones, hearts, cities.
But when the second day passed with no contact either, breathing was easier. And each day that spooled on became another small balm on the wounded spirit, until, close to the end of the seven-day unspoken limit I'd set myself, I thought perhaps, he'd learned. He'd grown. Enough to give me the space I needed.
Enough to perhaps, begin a conversation again.
Today, looking through my friendslist idly, thinking about other things entirely, I noticed something. He wasn't on the list anymore.
At some point over the past few days, he had unfriended me. That I hadn't noticed was not that I'd discarded him, or moved on callously and coldly; it was because even looking for his name on the friendslist made my heart ache. I had chosen to take the space, the silence, breathe through old and new issues, and not make more trouble for myself in the process.
But he'd left. He hadn't been respecting my need for space. He hadn't been waiting until I spoke again, giving me the space I'd asked for. No, he'd left in a fit of pique, thinking that lashing out in this way would make me run back to his side and beg to be refriended.
It was all a ruse. It was just another manipulative attempt, in a string of other manipulations. It was the purest example of exactly why those closest to me wanted him gone in the first place.
Maybe I needed just such an example. Maybe it finally hurts too much to ever reach out to him again.