Part I: And When It Happens

i. Hearts, Daggers & the Other Woman

People can never believe they can hurt so much until they actually do. It just takes that one moment, that one situation, to make them realize that their hearts aren’t quite made of stone. That the walls that they’ve built don’t keep every word out.

Words.

They’re like daggers. Daggers with perfect aim and perfect vision. They know exactly how and what to hit. She loved him. She loved him to the point of nonexistence. She wasn’t herself anymore, but simply her love for him. It didn’t make sense that it wasn’t mutual.

“I’ll try to love you like you love me,” he said as he texted the other woman. “Don’t worry, she’s just a friend.”
“But I don’t like when you text her around me. I don’t even know her.”
“Okay,” he said casually, “if it makes you happy, I’ll stop.”

Three weeks later, they shared the same room. The same silence. She knitted, while he secretly texted the other woman.

She wanted to grow old with him, watch him bloom and succeed. Be there for all the ups and downs. All the while, she was scared. Scared that he’d leave sooner than she was ready to acknowledge. Scared that the other woman was truly his other woman. The arguments were old and repetitive now. The swears and promises were holding less meaning.

She pushed and pushed. She kept pushing.

“We’re meant to be together. We’re each other’s universe.”
A simple, “I don’t know anymore,” was the only answer he mustered. Hours passed. His response rang in her head as loud as the Liberty Bell. She could only hope that someday he’d figure out that she’s all that he needed. She could only dream that he’d figure it out sooner than later.

ii. Popcorn Covered Seats & Midnight Drives

She knitted her feelings. She watched the wheels beneath the wooden plank carry him across the pavement. The wind wrestled with his loosely worn t-shirt and pulled at his Ramones inspired hair cut. His expression simply bliss, whilst hers showed worry.  She wasn’t the type to complain. That’s a lie. That’s exactly who she was. But she wasn’t the type to do it on purpose. She confronted him again, this time with more confidence.

“I don’t like it when you talk to her at all. Something about it just doesn’t feel right.”
He jumped off his longboard, popped the tail up with his foot and held it in an upright position- his eyes focused directly on hers.
“If its important to you,” he glanced down at the ground and then back towards her, “then I won’t do it anymore.”

She’d heard it before, but felt compelled to believe him this time. So she did. The day passed, her feelings still twisted and confused from her own subconscious naivety.
The ride home felt long. He asked her a question she wasn’t ready for.

“Do you think you could spend the night somewhere else?”

They lived together; had done so for the past two years. Had dated for more than that.

“But where would I go? Why do I need to sleep somewhere else?” Her voice trailed lower and lower. “What if you like when I’m gone…?”

“I’m sure I won’t. I just need time to think.” He didn’t look at her, he just kept driving.

Hours passed. The conversation was still on her brain’s cusp. The urge to speak again was silenced by the realization that there was nothing she could do. His mind was made up. She’d just do what she could to make him happy. It was late out. Just after ten. She arrived home from the cinema, Ellen Page’s illuminating smile was still playing in her head. She could still smell the butter kissing her fingertips; her mouth studying the taste of the sweet honey mustard chicken sandwich she sneaked in her purse and devoured during the high points of Juliette Lewis’ roller techniques.

Her purse fell onto some luggage they’d had packed for weeks. To celebrate their young marriage, they both wanted to relocate. She wasn’t sure anymore if they’d survive long enough to do that. She heard him come in.

“Do you still want me to leave for the night?”
“I don’t know what I want. How was the movie?” he said, tossing his keys onto the counter.

So calm. So casual. It was as if nothing was wrong. By the tone being carried, no one would suspect that a disagreement ever took place. Trying too hard, as usual, she found herself telling him what he indeed needed was the alone time he desired. He denied such accusations for a little over five minutes before agreeing to take a solo drive.
He made his was across the room, his eyes filled with the thoughts he’d been hiding all day. She stood in front of him, their difference in height more apparent. They embraced, his scent lingered in her nose, causing nostalgia of the ‘good ole’ days’. She said nothing more. His arms covered her back, hugging tightly. A perfect match, the way their bodies fit together, arching toward one another.
Her hands fell from his back. She tippy-toed her way to his face and stole a peck from his lips. He smiled. She returned one, happy that for the first time in a long time they had agreed to something. She believed that his time alone could change a million things. She could benefit from it too. There was plenty to think about. Many things had gone ignored. She wished him a safe drive.
“If I’m home after twelve, just go to sleep.”
“I’ll wait up as long as I can.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too. Be safe.”

She regretted her decision as soon as he left.

iii. Concave Thoughts & Water Resistant Blankets

Her tears fell heavier than rain. Her cheeks covered with moisture as if she’d been swimming, or perhaps bathing.

It’s not of choice. There was a pull deep within her telling her to shut her eyes. She needed all the rest she could get. The past few days had been hard; sleeping had been harder. The longer she slept, the more she dreamed. Her dreams were far too pleasant for her reality.

He didn’t return. One. Two. Three. More hours go by. They felt like days slowly passing on a calendar. The agony had no shame. It thrust itself upon her, engraving a scarlet A into her heart.

“Its nothing. Everything’s fine,” she lied aloud, trying to convince herself. Who was she trying to fool?

iv. Station Wagons & Early Mornings

Her eyes cranked open and revealed the hour. Twelve noon. Her eyes were stinging from the water storms that poured from them not but a few hours prior. In the same minutes that she awoke, she heard the engine of the Toyota Station Wagon pulling in the drive way. He was back.

She sat still awaiting his entry. He eased in the door, the same look of worry still apparent from when he first left. There was something new added to his face- a softness. He’d fallen asleep. The story spilled from his lips.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t call. I went to my thinking spot and laid my head back on the seat. I thought I dosed off for only five minutes. Babe, I’m so sorry.” He walked towards her and hugged her tight, kissing her gently on the top of her messily strewn hair.

It made sense. She couldn’t see a flaw, and wouldn’t want to anyway. She accepted his version, hoping it was the truth-believing it was the truth. She let out one last row of tears before she cuddled with him through the night. They didn’t speak. They barely breathed.
The next morning came fast. Much too fast. Just after eleven, he rose. He awaited her movements before declaring his hunger and expelling from the bedroom. Her mind wandered. She knew the talk of his thoughts from last night was around the corner.
She knew it couldn’t be too good, otherwise it would’ve been mentioned already. She knew him. She knew how his mind worked. “He must be trying to find a good way to tell me.” There she goes talking to herself again.

The air conditioner smuggled out the sound of her thoughts as she laid back down and tried to make sense of something she didn’t even know yet.

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