“He loved her,” she insisted.
“No, he’s in love with her.”
“No, no, no.” She still wasn’t listening to me. “This is what he said: ‘I loved her.’ It was love in the past tense.”
“People don’t say things like that unless they still love them. Once you stop loving someone, you never mention them again. They’re not even a memory.”
She scoffed at this. “You out of all people know this isn’t true. People talk about people they don’t love anymore all the time, but it doesn’t mean they’re still in love them. What part of past tense don’t you understand? He. Loved –”
“I understand everything about the past tense” – I lowered the stereo volume just to make sure the entire world heard my point – “but I understand nothing about what you’re saying. Don’t you know love? Haven’t you ever held it in your hand?”
“I held love in my hand whenever I held his.”
“That’s so corny. Can you see my ears bleed from the corniness? It’s corniness like that that gives love a bad name.” Her speaking about him, or even the thought that she was thinking about him, or even the fact that we were dedicating an entire moment of our temporary lives talking about him, that we were associating “love” and his terrible name in the same sentence – it all made me delirious with envy, but the envy was a secret even I didn’t want to admit. Why couldn’t I throw my envy away and burn it and then piss on the ashes? He didn’t love her. There was no way he loved her. I didn’t want to know her anymore.
“I don’t see your ears bleeding,” she said as she moved closer to me and inspected my ears. Her breath smelt like raspberry Vodka. “And what’s a non-corny love anyway? Has love ever not been corny?”
“A non-corny love is a love that’s mixed with practicality and romanticism.”
“So love has elements of corniness.”
“You know what? Whatever. He loved her, he still loves her – does it really matter?”
“Yes. His love matters.”
“Why does what he do with his love matter? Why should –”
“Because I love him.”
Everything became silent. “So you love a guy who left you behind.” I looked at her. Her eyes were slightly teary; she was sniffling. This guy had picked her out of an ocean, broken her, then placed her back into the ocean without waving goodbye. And I was completely sober when I said what I said next: “Fuck his love. Fuck you. You hear me, you dirty shit? Fuck. You.”
She was crying now. “I still think about him. I still smell him. I still see him in people who have any characteristics that resemble anything about him. I still love him.”
I took her to bed, and in bed we laughed about things, and when she was asleep I did sit ups, push ups, checked Facebook. When she woke up, we spoke a little bit more and I drove her to a café where she was supposed to meet him for “closure”, and, before exiting my car, she turned to me and smiled and said, “he loved her,” and she said thanks to me, and I said thanks to her, and she tapped her finger on my hand before shutting the door and heading to the café.