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Dear Michael: HIStory

"How are rehearsals?"

"They're coming along. You know the tour starts in September... Are you coming?" Apart of me wanted her to say yes, because maybe just maybe the time constraints of the tour would bring us together. Another part of me wanted her to say no so that I could enjoy those five months to myself.

She sighed. "I don't know. I'll let you know." I guess she feels the same way. She reached into her shirt and held her right breast. If there was one thing I know about women or Shayla, in particular, it was that for some reason grabbing one of their breasts brought some sort of comfort. I'll never understand it. I saw my sisters do it and for the past eleven years, I've seen my wife execute that same behavior.

"You know it seems the more we stay away from each other, the less we argue."

"Ha..." She offered a dry laugh. "I know. Why do you think I said, I'll let you know if I'll go on tour with you or not?"

"It's weird that we're happier that way."

Her lips pressed into a thin line. "Sometimes I look at you and I just want to scream. So... it makes sense that we're happier this way."

My heart sank at that confession. "Really? How so when you hardly see me? I'm never around."

"Exactly." I swallowed the small lump that grew in my throat. I wasn't going to cry. It didn't even feel like I was going to cry, but if there wasn't a sign before that told me this was it between us, here it is right out in the open.

"Do you still love me?"

"I always have."

"That doesn't answer my question."

She winced and massaged her right breast. "I still love you."

"Then why do I feel like you don't?" She shrugged. "I love you, Shayla."

"I love you too."

I nodded. "You're just not in love with me anymore."

She sighed and rolled her eyes. "Michael, I'm-"

"If you didn't want to be with me anymore, why didn't you just say that? You don't want to work on us. The thought of counseling hasn't crossed your mind since Remi and Carol brought it up. If you want me to go, just tell me." She looked me in the eye. Sadness in her own eyes as we stared at one another. She opened her mouth to say something but couldn't find the words to say and pressed her lips together. "Shayla, I love you. I don't want you to ever forget that. And I don't want you to forget that I've been the only one here trying to fix us." I left. She's emotionally checked out. It's evident I lost her a long time ago. I guess I just wasn't paying attention.

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