“How can you say that?”
He takes hold of her hand, the same hand that he had envisioned sliding a ring onto one day, the same hand that he’d hoped would hold his child, the same hand that he’d hoped to hold as they grew old together. His heart starts pounding in his chest.
The feel of her skin on his brings all of those hopes and dreams he has for them to the forefront of his mind, but the look on her face shatters them all in a moment. She doesn’t share his desires; he begins to wonder if she ever did, if this whole relationship had been a lie. He had given himself over to her and their partnership completely, in ways that he’d never been able to do with others. To have it all discarded like it meant nothing to her, like he meant nothing to her. He can’t hold back the tears welling in his eyes, bile and last night’s dinner start their creep up his throat, he swallows to push it back down but that does nothing to stop the rising beast.
He holds the mixture in his mouth for a moment trying to force it back down, willing it to return from where it came. It doesn’t obey. She pulls her hand away and takes a step back as the concoction hits the floor, spreading outward and soaking into her carpet. She looks to the broken man in front of her, vomit dribbling down his chin, tears trickling from his eyes, a look of pure pain written across his face.
He tries to speak but nothing intelligible comes out, nothing more than a squeak and a gurgle. His eyes dart between hers and the damp and chunky puddle in front of him. The pounding in his chest gets worse; it’s as if his heart itself is trying to reach out to her and beg her to stay, to extend its tendons out of his chest and intertwine with hers to show her how much he truly cares about her. He knows that it wouldn’t do anything, she has made up her mind and chosen to throw everything away that they worked together to build. Like it never meant anything to her, like it was only ever a way for her to use him and get whatever she needed with no care or thought for what his heart desired.
He steps forward and takes her hand again, holding onto it as if grasping it so tightly could convey how strongly he feels about this relationship without using the words that he can’t form, show her how much he cares for her and how much he is willing to put into keeping this together. He knows that he can’t lose her, not after everything that they’ve been through, their whirlwind romance that taught him what true love really meant, that they would be able to get through any of life’s trials and tribulations as long as they had each other to lean on, as long as they had each other that was all that mattered.
She takes her hand back again. “I think you should leave.”
He hears the words but he doesn’t absorb them, they dance around his mind, trying to enter his consciousness but not being able to pass through, he won’t let them, he won’t allow the words to be heard because of what they mean for their future together, what they mean for their past together. The words manage to pierce their way through his defences, and he falls to his knees, sending splashes of the vomit into the air and onto his clothes. She backs away to avoid the spray, but some still manages to find its way onto her leg. He looks up to her, his eyes pleading for another chance, for a way to prove to her that they should continue or try again, begging her for another chance. Still he finds no solace in her gaze, only a sense of indignation. And pity. He stares into her eyes, the eyes that he had hoped she would pass onto their children one day, and sees nothing but her contempt for him, she never loved him, she never cared for him, everything that they shared was meaningless.
His heart pounding out of his chest hasn’t slowed, it’s beating stronger and faster, continuing to try and reach out for the woman that he loves, the woman that he yearned to share his entire being with, the woman that he hoped would, one day, take his name as her own in front of their families and friends, the woman that he thought would be his for the rest of their days. Her face tells him that everything he’s invested in their relationship has been wasted, has been thrown away without a thought or a care for all that he’s done or wanted or tried to do for the pair of them, she tossed it all away on a whim.
“Please.” He manages to conjure up the words that he’s been longing to say since she told him the news. “Just tell me what I did wrong, tell me what I need to change and I’ll change it, please, don’t end it, I need you, I don’t know what I would do without you.”
The words come out and don’t stop flowing.
“Please, I love you, I know somewhere deep down you must still love me, please, just tell me that there’s something left inside you that we can hold onto, I love you more than I have ever loved anyone and I can’t imagine a life without you in it. Please, just tell me that you love me, just tell me, please, just tell me, just tell me you love me, I will do anything that you want, just tell me that you love me. I love you, please just tell me that you love me.”
She doesn’t say anything. He scuttles closer to her on his knees, squirming through the wet vomit puddle in front of him, not even noticing the dampness that is creeping up his trousers, not registering the sounds and the smells that his movements are spreading into the atmosphere around them, she covers her mouth with her hand and takes a step backwards away from him.
He stops moving in the middle of the puddle, the dampness spreading further. “Why are you running away from me? We had something special, I know you felt it too.” He is unable to stop the words from leaving his mouth. “You can’t tell me that you didn’t feel something between us that is amazing and wonderful and everlasting and more than can ever be comprehended. We shared something magical together and you can’t just throw that away, you can’t tell me that what we have isn’t special.”
“What the hell are you talking about? We — ”
He doesn’t let her finish. He can’t let her. He can’t hear the words that she was about to say. He knows what they were going to be, but he knows that they don’t matter, they are not important, the only thing that’s important is how he feels about her and how he knows that she feels about him.
“You don’t have to say any of that. I know, you can’t hide the truth from yourself, I know how you feel.” He looks down and notices where he’s kneeling. He stands and tries to brush the material from the knees of his trousers. It doesn’t go but merely smudges and disintegrates under his hands. “I have given you everything that I have, please, the only thing you have to say is that you love me, I know you do, please, just say it. Everything that we have shared, it’s like we’ve spent a lifetime together, I know that you understand that and I know that you feel it too. I know you do. Please, just tell me that you love me.”
The look on her face tells him that she won’t be saying anything of the sort. The realisation cuts through him like a harpoon through a fish, but it also yields a sense of calm throughout him. The tears stop flowing and his heart stops trying to unite with hers. He looks at her one last time in the hope of finding anything that tells him that there’s hope. He doesn’t find anything, not even pity or disgust anymore, just a look of fear and of confusion.
He takes a deep breath and composes himself, he thinks of the words that he can say to make this situation better. Without any better options available to him, he settles on an old classic.
“I’m sorry, I’ll — ”
This time, she doesn’t let him finish. “This is ridiculous, John. We met last night; we haven’t shared a lifetime together. If you don’t leave this second I’m going to phone the police.”
© 2019 David Chitty
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.