And here they were, ten years after they had first met. She held their two year old son close to her chest and spoke with a firm resolve, “I’m done, I can’t do this any longer. I want you to start packing your things and get out of my face as quickly as you possibly can.”
Of course they had fought before, every marriage and every relationship comes with its fights, but this felt different. This felt real, permanent, unfamiliar. David stepped backwards slowly outside Emma’s plane of view, knowing there was no coming back from here. But after being with a person for this long, you forget how to do single. No matter what happens at work, whether the CEO lauds you or a colleague trashes you, the first person you would normally text no longer wants to have anything to do with you. Nobody to fight with over who takes out the trash, or who empties the dishwasher. Nobody to come back home to.
He went to the supermarket to buy boxes for his stuff. He saw her friend’s husband approaching from the corner of his eye, and quietly turned into the nearest aisle and kept walking into the distance. So this is how it’s going to be now, he thought to himself. Hiding, avoiding social conversations because he didn’t know how to have a conversation that didn’t involve his family.
As he packed his possessions, he found millions of memories hiding in the folds of his clothes, the strings of his guitar, the worn pages of his books. He found a pen and pulled out a scrap of paper.
He wrote, his hands shaking, “I don’t know how we got here, but I wish we hadn’t. ”
All this while Emma made sure she stayed out of his way, toiling away at her painting in her shed. It was only when she heard him lock the door after him that she came back inside the house. She went upstairs to where “their” room had just become “her” room.
She found his note by their wedding frame. The picture that no longer had a place in their lives.
And between that picture and that note, was a lifetime of memories.