Please enjoy this poorly written short story which may or may not be entirely or partially true or fictional.
She stared blankly at the computer screen, willing an email notification to pop up but knowing it wouldn’t. Not with one from him, anyway. She hadn’t seem him in over four months, and had not heard from him for nearly one of those four. She knew it was pointless to keep hoping and holding on. She knew that two years ago when she first saw the latest addition to his attire: a silver wedding band.
She would never forget that day, or the pain she felt in that instant. They had been dating for little over a year, though the past couple of months had been strained. She knew something was different, she just didn’t know what it was. So that day when she ran into him at the store, and before he saw her she caught a glimpse of his left hand… she had stood frozen in place, tunnel vision zooming in on that band of metal around his finger. She couldn’t see anything else but that ring, she couldn’t hear anything, she couldn’t speak or move or breathe. She had no idea how she even kept standing, because the pain in her heart was so intense she felt surely she would crumple to the floor and never stand up again. She was so broken in that instant, she had wanted to die right then and there. She somehow held in the tears as she had a brief conversation with him, one that she could not for the life of her remember. She had been too stunned and hurt to hear much beyond the sound of her own heart breaking and the intense rush of the hateful little voices in her mind screaming “I told you so!” mingling with the pitiful cries of her own voice wondering “How could he do this to me?”. For such a brief instant in time, it had been intense, with far too much exploding inside to make sense of anything but the excruciating pain coursing through every part of her. All she could remember now was how she had started the conversation. With a small, shaky motion she had merely pointed to his hand and croaked out “That’s new.” She remembered she had tried unsuccessfully to meet his gaze as he spoke to her, but she couldn’t bear to look at him. Not because she didn’t want to see him. She was afraid if she looked at him, she would lose whatever it was that was holding her together and having a complete meltdown in public was not acceptable. She was terrified she would not see the love and affection in his eyes that she was so used to, but the coldness of a man who didn’t love her at all. Mostly, she didn’t want him to see all the pain and humiliation and shame shining in her own eyes.
He had insisted he’d told her he was going to get married. But he hadn’t. She would not have been fighting not to lose it in Wal Mart if he had told her. She pored through every single email and text message from him that night looking for any mention of his plans that she may have somehow looked over, but there were none. He had never even hinted at it, let alone come right out and said he was marrying somebody else.
Despite the fact that he had shattered her so completely, she was still holding on and had found a way to forgive him. She was too stubborn, and stupid, to accept the reality and walk away. She knew the reality and was able to admit it, sure. She just couldn’t accept it. She didn’t want to. She wanted to believe he meant it when he said he loved her. She wanted to believe they had a future together. She wanted to believe he felt for her what she did for him. She knew she was lying to herself every bit as much as he was lying to her, but she didn’t care. The way she saw it, she was going to be alone, miserable, and hurting regardless of what she did; so why not just keep holding on and hoping he’d realize he wanted her after all?
She knew eventually he would write to her with some “good” reason for having been absent for so long. And she would forgive him and say it was ok and she understood, same as always. She knew it was nothing but excuses and he didn’t mean a word of it, but she’d take the lies and envelope herself in the fantasy that he actually meant the sweet things he said (when he bothered to come around) because that was all she really wanted in life: for him to love her and want her.
She glanced at the clock and sighed. He was, supposedly, at work right now and would not be writing tonight. Having not heard from him for three weeks who knew if his work schedule was the same as it had been or not? Besides him and his wife. She snarled at the word “wife”, as she always did when she thought of him being married to anyone but her. She slapped the laptop closed and shoved it away from her, refusing to keep staring at the screen any more tonight.
She knew it was wrong. She had always sworn she’d never be “the other woman”. But she had been young and naive when she said that. Maybe she was still naive, but this mess was not her fault. He’d made her fall completely in love, and by the time the truth came out she was in too deep to be able to walk away even though she knew that was the right thing to do. That was what any woman with even the slightest bit of common sense and self respect would have done. She just couldn’t bear the thought of losing him… though she didn’t even really have him to lose, that was beside the point. She’d believed she had him, and she was determined to keep on believing that. Even if it was just a fairy tale.
The constant war with herself was exhausting. Having to hide everything from the rest of the world made it even worse. Only one other person knew all the dirty details but she even withheld from talking to her best friend about it too often, she was sure it got annoying. “You need to let go” was the best advice anybody would be able to offer, but it wasn’t that simple. If it was, she’d have done it a long time ago. She also dreaded the judgment she knew would come if she confessed to anyone. That look of disgust and disapproval was not something she felt like dealing with, so she just internalized it all and put a smile on her face, and let the world believe she was happy. She was a terrible liar, other than pretending she was happy when she wasn’t. When it came to that lie, she was a master.
This man had instantly found his way into her barricaded heart. She’d spent years building the walls that so effectively kept everyone else out, but he barreled right through them as if they didn’t exist. She’d trusted him from the moment she saw him, before she even knew his name, before he had even spoken to her she knew he was the only one she wanted. She couldn’t pinpoint the reasons, all she knew was with him she had felt safe and home, like she was finally where she was meant to be. That feeling was hard to walk away from, even with the whole “he married someone else and never said a word about it” thing being taken into consideration.
She shuffled to the kitchen and grabbed a pint of ice cream and a spoon, then went back to the living room and settled in on the couch. She considered turning on the tv or putting a DVD on, but she knew she’d just stare off into space without actually watching anything. She pulled a blanket around her and sighed as she opened the ice cream and began to bury her sorrows with Turkey Hill Moose Tracks. As she slowly worked her way through the fudgy ripples and peanut butter cups embedded in creamy vanilla, she let her memories of the happy times with him surround her. The first time she’d seen him, and she’d had to backtrack to walk past him again. And again. And a fourth time. The first time he’d smiled at her, the first time he’d said hello, the first awkward conversation when she’d felt her face turning redder and redder as she fumbled for words, certain she was making a complete idiot of herself. The first time his hand had grazed hers, the first time he kissed her, the first time he REALLY kissed her, the first time they’d made love… all those firsts that had made her so deliriously happy she hardly recognized herself.
Inevitably her thoughts wound their way to their lasts as well. The good times had outnumbered the bad times, but the bad times won the war anyway. Staring down at the cardboard cup that had housed her pint of ice cream an hour ago, she let the tears fall as if for the first time. She knew in her heart it wouldn’t be the last time. As foolish as she was for it, as hopeless as it all was, she would wait for him forever. Even if she did eventually find someone else to share her life with, no one would ever reach her heart the way he had. She’d never let anyone else in – her heart was for him alone. In her heart she would always be waiting for him.