how to tell him you can’t love him

first, ask him why he loves you. let him say your hair, and your smile and the way you make your sunday morning burritos. let him say it is the way you always sleep with your window open in the summer and like taking pictures of waterfalls. let him say all the things he loves about you and know that no man has loved you exactly this way before and no one man will ever again

second, tell him why you could love him. like, you could love his smile that feels like morning tea, all warm and sweet. you could love his steady hands and how he helps you make your sunday morning burritos. you could love the way he likes daisies over roses and ham over balony. you could love the way he writes his r’s and his habit of being precisely five minutes late. you could love him. but you can’t.

third, make sure he sees how the smile doesn’t reach your eyes, just like he can’t seem to reach apart of you. let him see that you could love him and he truly loves you, but that just isn’t enough. let him see that love just isn’t enough.

fourth, write him a letter. you’ve packed up all your bags and removed the watercolor painting supplies from the backporch. address the letter to him and leave it in the kitchen, where you used to make your sunday morning burritos. you know he will look there first. then leave.

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