Really, Cosmo Magazine is to blame.
Although it seemed completely out of character, last week your significant other picked a copy up from the impulse rack at the grocery store. They bring it back to the apartment you share, looking smug.
“What’s up with that?” You ask. ”I didn’t take you for the kind to read Cosmo. Once you’ve seen one issue of that stupid magazine, you’ve seen them all.”
“Oh, I thought we could try some of these,” They say with a sly grin, pointing to a large block of text on the front cover advertising FIFTY SIZZLING WAYS TO SPICE UP YOUR SEX LIFE!
For the most part, the magazine is predictably bland. You take turns alternating suggestions, and while the exercise started off enticing and naughty, by #41 (PUT YOUR VAGINA ON YOUR PARTNER’S PENIS, MAYBE?) the thrill has already started to wear off.
Feeling the gap forming between you, your partner decide to give the thing one last go.
“Okay, how about this one?” They suggest. ”#48 - SEND EXPLICIT TEXT MESSAGES FROM SEPARATE ROOMS?”
You’re not sure how this’ll work, but your partner seems really into it, so you decide to give it your best. That night, you agree to sleep on the couch, right outside the closed bedroom door.
At about midnight, you receive a text:
“I WISH U WERE HERE TO SEE HOW HOT AND BOTHERED I GET THINKING ABOUT U.”
You think about it for a moment before sending back —
“ME TOO. I WISH I WAS THERE. I MISS YOU.”
They respond, almost instantly with —
“AWWW, POOR BABY. R U LONELY? ;)”
You reply —
“YES. ALMOST ALWAYS. I HAVE A HARD TIME SLEEPING ALONE.”
For good measure, you clarify —
“I THINK IT STARTED WHEN MY FATHER LEFT.”
There is a long pause, before —
“EVER SINCE MY FATHER LEFT, I HAVE DIFFICULTY SLEEPING ALONE. I THINK IT’S BECAUSE I USED TO STAY UP LATE AND HEAR MY MOTHER FRANTICALLY CALLING ALL MY FATHER’S FAMILY AND FRIENDS, ASKING IF THEY’D SEEN HIM. NOBODY WOULD TELL HER ANYTHING, AND EVENTUALLY SHE STOPPED CALLING, BUT SHE WOULD STILL STAY UP, LATE AT NIGHT, RIGHT BY THE PHONE. I WOULD SOMETIMES TIP-TOE OUT OF BED AND WATCH HER FROM A CRACK IN THE DOOR. SHE HAD HOLLOW, SUNKEN EYES IN THE MORNINGS, BUT SHE NEVER MENTIONED IT.”
There is no answer, so you decide to continue —
“EVER SINCE THEN I HAVE PRETTY SEVERE ABANDONMENT ISSUES. WHICH PROBABLY EXPLAINS WHY I WENT THROUGH SUCH A PROMISCUOUS PHASE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE. I JUST WANTED PEOPLE TO BE AROUND ME. IF WE’RE BEING HONEST, IT’S PROBABLY WHY I SUGGESTED WE MOVE IN TOGETHER AS QUICKLY AS I DID. WHEN I’M ALONE, I STARE AT THE CEILING AND START TO THINK ABOUT HOW EASY IT WOULD BE FOR ME TO DIE AT THAT MOMENT, AND HOW LONG IT WOULD BE BEFORE ANYBODY KNEW. IN FACT, A LOT OF PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T FIND OUT FOR MONTHS OR YEARS, EVEN. THAT’S WHY I DON’T LIKE BEING ALONE, BECAUSE IT REMINDS ME OF THE CRUELTY AND SHORTNESS OF LIFE. SO, YEAH, I WISH YOU WERE HERE TOO, BOO.”
Nothing happens for a long time, so you add —
“ ;) ”
There is no reply for the rest of the night, and before you drift off to sleep, you’re positive you can hear the faintest sound of crying behind the bedroom door.
When you wake, your partner is gone, along with all of their belongings. When you try to call their cellphone, a very polite recording informs you the number has been disconnected for years.