Four weeks ago he returned from Europe, and he was different. He no longer teased or indulged my penchant for asking questions. He’d snap at me. Although before he had promised pictures and stories and a souvenir bong as big as my head, since his return, he’s yet to show me a single photo or even share the names of his vagabond crew.

Three weeks ago he told me he loved me … and that sounds like a bigger deal than it actually is. The words were sent via text, and it’s just something he does sometimes, a text into the void, without the expectation of a response. I do the same – though not those words. Never those words. The closest I come is an I miss you and even that is rare. The point is that the words are never a big revelation; just a factual statement I accept without deep analysis.

Two weeks ago he asked me to visit. He was at a wedding in Chicago, with our college friends, and wanted to see me. He called me his best friend, said that whenever something good or bad happened, I was the first one he wanted to tell. He said that everyone at the wedding asked about me, told him he screwed up when he let me go (isn’t that a polite way to phrase it?). He said he wanted to see me … but if he had really wanted to see me, he would’ve called me before 1am when drunk.

One week ago we were still off, had yet to return to our normal rhythm. When we’re off, it’s easier for me – it creates distance, which I like. Much easier for me to dislike him, especially when around his two best friends who still give me the “you guys are totally going to get married, I just know it!” drill. We were off for a reason, and I knew what it was. The Bestest Friend warned me against asking.

Three days ago I asked. Well, that’s wrong, I didn’t ask, I told a mutual friend, told him that The Kid is seeing someone in NYC and that she went to Europe with him. My friend just looked at me, his eyes were the same quiet pity that I saw and too well remember from two years ago when I asked about her, and said, “You know I can’t tell you that.” I nodded, indifferently, and then excused myself to call a friend, one of my girls, and promptly broke down. I was, embarrassingly, a hysterical mess. She listened through the pain, the teeth chattering and body quaking and hell, even the vomiting. No tears though; never tears.

Yesterday I told him goodbye. I said that we can’t talk anymore. That he needs to let me go because I am not healing.

I feel … empty.