Her eyeballs found their way to the floor of the dirty restaurant and every curly strand of her 4c hair was floating above her head. The pink pieces of her brain were also scattered in the air. I watched her fingers and toes melt before me into a puddle beneath her chair as her limbs abandoned her, the only surviving part of her being the hand I held onto.
“Chimamanda, you are coming apart.” I said to her as I gripped her hand tightly. I know she heard me this time because one of her eyeballs looked straight at me, I’m almost certain it’s the left one. It looked horrified, but it wasn’t about Mandy, any eyeball staring like that would be horriffic.
I stared at the eye for a while, challenging it. I glared and assumed it glared right back at me. I could see a tear fall from the left eyeball before her limbs slowly found their way to her torso along with every other part like a jigsaw puzzle.
“Tito,” She simply said, she was crying now and I began to think twice. Maybe I was rushing this. “You said you’re breaking up with me?” She asked but of course she knew that’s what I said 5 minutes ago before she came apart. She knew because immediately I said that she came apart. Maybe this was a test, she was asking to make sure I really wanted to go through with it. Did I really want to go through with it?
“Mandy,” I was stalling, I prepared this whole thing before we came in here. I knew what I was supposed to say, what tone to use and even the body language to present.
“Is it because of me?” Mandy asked before I could get a word out. “Is it because I come apart? You know that’s not my fault Tito.” She let go of my hand “You should know how hard I’m trying.”
At this point I could tell all my preparation was a waste. “Are you really trying Mandy?” I became angry. “You’ve come apart 9 times this week. At least when I’m around.” I scoffed “You stayed like that for three hours on Thursday,” “and I held you, I soothed you, I begged you to pull yourself back together and I know you heard me but you just refused.”
“You know I come apart when I’m anxious and-“
“And when you’re scared and when you’re sad and when you’re tense. I know.” “So why are you acting like it’s my fault Tito.” I stared at her. I should reassure her. I should let know it’s not her fault. I should drag her chair closer to mine and kiss her. I should tell the waiter to pack our food and drive us back home in one piece.
“I’m just tired Chi,” my shoulders slumped in the chair, “I am just so tired of just waiting for you. Waiting for you to put yourself together again, waiting for you to talk to me again. I’m tired of leaving you up there every time.” I pointed at the middle of her forehead “I get lonely when you’re up there and I’m down here.”
“Is it the sex?” She quickly asked. “If it were about sex I would have been long gone by now.” She took in deep breaths and counted to ten. “Otu…abụọ…atọ…anọ…”
I thought she would come apart any moment from now, but I kept talking. She would listen to me today. Even if she became mere particles of herself, she would listen. “Mandy, I know that it’s not your fault but it gets so difficult for me too, to see you like that and be unable to do a single thing. It’s literal agony.” I could feel myself tearing up.
“I try so hard Chimamanda but there’s only so much patience I can muster.” The sobs came without my permission. I held her hand again. “I love you, I prove that to you every single day but I want to be loved too Chimamanda and I don’t feel loved by you” Mandy stopped counting and stared at me, I could almost see the smoke coming out from her head.
“You don’t love me Tito. No, no, no you don’t love me at all. If you loved me this conversation would not be happening.” She took her hand back “Your ‘patience’ and ‘love’ can’t stop me from coming apart. I’ve told you this a million times.” She started to disperse little by little again. “Your love does not solve anything Tito.” I didn’t know she could keep talking during an episode.
“I knew this would happen, I knew that one day you would decide to leave me after all your concern and love and so called patience!” At this point her lips were only floating piece of her while the rest of her body sank into the ground.
“I knew it was only a matter of time before you got irritated by me,” I couldn’t see her eyes but something told me she was crying as well. “If it makes you feel any better, you should know that there was not a single day in this relationship that I didn’t try my hardest as well.” Her hand was still in mine. “I’m so sorry I can’t love you like you want Tito.”
“I love you Mandy.” I let go and her hand sank to the ground with the rest of her body.
I sat there for a while, maybe cause I thought she would come back at some point, maybe I was waiting. She didn’t come back up so I paid the bill and walked away. I could swear I heard Mandy say that she loves me too as I crossed the door. I pretended not to hear her.