Part II: You’ll Know

v. Lying, Cheating & Bullet Holes

The arguments kept coming. It had been days but the fights were still happening. Everything was on the table; no secrets left. He told her he had feelings for the other woman. He managed to choke out that they had shared a few intimate moments , maybe even more than once.

For seconds she was trapped inside of her own mind, struggling with images she’d never seen nor thought she would have to imagine. She felt him tug at her, his tears sliding down her own face.

They ended up near a lake.

Words were exchanged, all at a soft volume. Understandings tossed around and ideas stressed.
Love, though. What can really be done with love? She loved him, quite literally, without conditions. She loved that he was so honest, even with something so terrible. She loved that he dropped everything scheduled to  fix whatever could be left of them. She loved him.

“You don’t have to forget any of this. You don’t have to forgive me. I’ll do anything to prove to you that this was all just a mistake. A big accident.” He pleaded. “A mess. It’s all my fault.”

She was glad that he acknowledged that it was all his fault. She repeated it aloud as not to blame herself later on.
“You say you love me,” she managed to choke out, “but how can you say that after all you’ve done?”

“There is no reason that will sound right, because there is no right reason.” He began to cry again. “I’m a moron. I don’t want to jeopardize what we have. This,” he pointed to himself and then to her,” we are great. I just…I wasn’t myself.”

She doesn’t want to fall for the same lines that others do; the I’ll never do it again or the it means nothing. But opposite of every bone in her body telling her otherwise, she started to believe him. She thought she saw hope still shining in his eyes, accompanying a pain that had been there since the arguments began. She spoke.

“It will take a lot of time before things are back to how they used to be.”
“It will be worth every second,” he whispered. His eyes still full of tears, he looked deep into the muddy rivers of her brown eyes. “I just can’t lose you.”

They were in the car. She realized they had been driving around for a little over two hours. The grass looked greener than normal, the sky just a bit more blue. Her heart was covered with bullet holes and temporarily smothered with bandages. Time heals all wounds.
She walked down the stairs and into the bedroom. A load of laundry was going, the smell of fresh linens circulated through the air. She pulled out her laptop, opened the browser, and logged into her journal.

“Hello strangers.”

vi. Let It All Out

The war had ended but where were they to go from there? The trust shattered along with a whole slew of what if’s and how could’s. All that remained were semi-awkward silences and repetitive apologies.

She forgave him. Is there such a love so strong that someone could practically hurt them into nonexistence and the damaged one still wants to be there? Was there such a thing as a survivor of tough love?

She told herself it was all just a big nightmare, but she was only hiding the reality to keep from crying. It took a few weeks before she let it fully hit her. Her crying was uncontrollable. Her heart just wouldn’t stop throbbing.

vii. Simplicity

A smile crawled across her face brighter than the sun. He had erased the other woman from his life. It was the only thing she could have asked for.
The days seemed better.They were finally moving in less than a week, in less than two days. She was glad that everything got sorted out before then. A new life. A new start. A fresh beginning.

But the happiness was only temporary. Lately, she had been feuding between moving on and accepting the fact that her dream man had a flaw that she paid for in tears and nightmares. Caught in one of her sad flare ups, she had locked herself in the hall closet. Her eyes were stinging. While the battle was over, the effects were just starting. She had cried enough to fill a small pond and as a result her eyes often stayed red and dry, prompting her to take on a new fashion for sunglasses and eye drops. Running off an average of four hours of sleep for the past few weeks didn’t help much either. She was physically and mentally exhausted.
But she kept pushing.

Night fell. The darkness was deep, engulfing the entire city in a blanket of glares from headlights and street lamps. The view from their bedroom was riveting. She would often get lost in the distant sight of the tall buildings and dimly lit stars on her restless nights. She glanced over at him. His body laid limply against the blanket, his eyes fluttering with each breath. She sat down beside him, letting her thoughts roam in places she’d been too scared to visit before. Every other minute, his body moved towards her, finding a place to touch. His subconscious wanted to be near her.
She could ask for nothing more.

viii. Seasons, Farewells & Super Heroes

It was raining outside, but inside she felt like a million great days. She was thinking about the past less and less, and more about the adventures that lay ahead of her. She had a friend. Not just any friend though. This friend was a super hero in disguise. Her journal had become her true confidant.

They were moving in one day. One more day in a village of ruthless racists and hell hot weather. They only had one more day being stuck in a hole so misleading that those driving by should not even think to take the exit. Exaggerating? Never. Not about this. He hated it too. He wasn’t originally from there, but boy did he hate it.
“It’s so damn hot in this land,” she remembered him saying one summer about six years ago. They were sitting beneath an umbrella at the neighborhood swimming pool, exercising all of  their options to cool off in 120 degree weather.
“I know,” she started before taking a big bite of her giant blue freeze pop. “Thins your blood too.”
“I can’t wait to be back in the north where the seasons actually change,” he said before taking a running leap into the cool blue arms of the pool.

There was plenty of excitement to go around. The movers had come, packed all the boxes in the truck, and made a head start towards their new home. He had said his goodbyes and farewells to most everyone, while she had procrastinated. Her delay wasn’t with the packing, but with finding a way to talk to and leave behind the people she’d been raised with and around her whole life. There was nothing like the loss of time that made her realize that she had taken it for granted. She squeezed in as many goodbyes as she could in a days time, and retired back to his parent’s house for an impromptu going away celebration.

Water was still spitting from the sky when she woke up with an overbearing hangover. Last night’s bon voyage party consisted of lots of champagne and cheesecake. She helped herself. The anger filled thunder in her stomach and throbbing in her head was her proof.

The time had come. Standing in front of the gold station wagon in front of his parent’s house, she suddenly felt overwhelmed with angst. She was going to miss his sisters. They were like her own family, and she really cherished how open and accepting they were of her. She would miss the smell of the marsh on her way to the university campus every Tuesday and Wednesday. She’d miss strangers calling her sweet heart and Mrs. Williams, her old widowed neighbor, bringing her sweet potato pies for every holiday. She would miss her home.

ix. Search & Find

Trying to find an apartment seemed like an endless journey. Too big. Too small. Too pricey. Poor location. She began to wonder if there was such a thing as a perfect apartment. The drive through the mountains during the early morning calmed her. It was a relaxation that she didn’t know she needed. Everything happened all at once it seemed. She was living her life, but it felt like she was watching it from the sidelines.

She watched the streets pass as she sat in the back of the gold Toyota. It was quiet. Nothing but the occasional muttering about boxes from the front seat. She didn’t pay much attention to it. They crossed the border, entering their new country. To her, it felt like the border of her new life. She had officially left the past behind the thick solid white line, along with the hot, musky weather and wretched personalities. She had moved on.

The day proved to be eventful. New streets, new people, new faces. It even smelled different. Her eyes roamed her new environment, finding entertainment in every corner. She was not disappointed. They arrived at his uncle’s house, where they had arranged to stay until they could find a place of their own. Everything seemed surreal.

Even he seemed different. Since everything had happened, he had tried his best to prove they did belong together. He tip-toed around her, she could feel it. He would pick his word carefully, knowing that one mistake could cause an eruption of what she’d only remember if she was angry. She knew that, but she didn’t mind. She reminded herself that with time, things would work out. She hoped.

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