The key is in the lock and now he's home. I feel him in the room and my body screams.
Get up. Go to him.
But I don’t. I can’t. I hate myself for it.
Just add it to the list.
For the past week, this has been the ritual. Every single day. I wish it hadn’t been, but what can I do?
He comes home and I don’t acknowledge him. I don’t even look at him and as much as my heart is already broken I can feel it crack a little more each time.
I hear him take off his coat. Then his shoes. I close my eyes when I hear him walk over to me. I squeeze them tighter as he bends down to give me a kiss on the forehead.
I need him.
I need him.
I need him.
I want to tell him. Every molecule in my body screams for me to tell him, but I don’t. I can’t.
I can't look at him. I know that's all it will take to rip the stitches that are barely holding me together. The stitches that once removed will release more pain than I can handle. My mouth, my eyes, my heart—I have to keep them closed. It’s the only reason I haven’t been torn in two.
He whispers in my ear, tells me he loves me and I want to scream. I want to beg him not to say those words to me. To remind him that I don’t deserve them. How can he love me now? How can he be so kind and patient when I know he’s hurting, too?
These thoughts push on the stitches. I clutch at my belly to hold in the pain, but it only weakens me as I look down at my hands. They are folded, one on top of the other, over the spot that had been the source of overwhelming joy.
Just last week it was filled with life and hope. Our future.
Now its emptiness threatens to drag me into the darkness.
I feel the stitches slip. Eyes, mouth, heart—I shut them even tighter to fight against the ocean rising within. I know this is a losing fight. I know the time has come.
It starts as a whimper. Then I start to cry. And then I start to wail. I scream out against a pain greater than I have ever felt before. A pain that is mine. A pain that I deserve.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop. The tears fall in waves. Giant heart crushing waves. There’s no way I’ll ever stop.
Then, he’s here. He’s rocking me gently and telling me that it wasn’t my fault. Telling me that it will be okay. Telling me that he loves me.
He says it again. And again. And again.
He loves me.