After a quiet dinner, a quiet bubble bath and after hearing Chris whispering the Princess and the Frog to Zoe, he walked out into the living room and said, “She’s finally asleep.”
He sat down on the couch next to me and put his hand on my knee. “Whats up?” he said.
“I just want you to leave again” I pushed his hand away and hugged my knees.
“I dont understand. I just came back. You’ve been wanting me to come back.” He shook his head and tried to look at me as I hid my face in my knees. “We had these great phone conversations. We love each other. I don’t get it?” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and ran his hands through his hair. His voice quivered, “You can’t keep doing this to me. I try so hard for you and you just push me away. I try to forget you, and you pull me in. You just wreck me. I don’t even know when that started happening. When did that start…that you became the problem instead of the fix?”
“It started when you played video games while I cried in bed after Meliah died.” I said.
“That again? Are you never going to forgive me?”
I sat up and thought about it. I said to the cabinet across from the couch, “I don’t think it is a forgive thing. I think it was more like a realization.” I flickered my eyes over to him bravely, “Like, there was something missing that I didn’t realize was missing. I guess It was that you left me when I needed you the most. That isn’t a forgive thing. That’s an, oh, OK, that’s how it works…thing.”
“But I’m sorry. And you have been testing and testing me ever since and I just let you and, I thought I was passing your tests. I’m not fucking perfect, you can’t expect people to be perfect, Odette.” He sat up looking at me with a red face. He shouted at me, ” If that is what you are looking for then you are going to be very lonely in this life!”
He got up and started to pace.
“Don’t yell. You are going to wake Zoe up and she mustn’t hear this.”
He nodded and sat down next to me again on the couch. “So what now?” he said. “What do you want, Odette? It always comes down to what you want?”
“I just don’t want to be sad anymore.”
“I don’t want you to be sad either. Does that mean I have to leave you again?”
We sat there quietly then he put his arm around me and I cried into his chest. Then he breathed in my hair and tried to hold back his own sobs. He stroked my hair and I could feel myself breathing heavily against his chest. It was safe there, if nothing else. He wiped the wet off my face and I looked up at him. He kissed me and whispered, “I don’t want to loose you again. I hate loosing you” he gasped. I kissed him back and he was so warm. The room was dark except for the kitchen light. All the windows were open though, the cool evening air blowing through was comforting. I could hear the crickets chirping outside and waves crashing on the beach. Chris got up and went to turn off the light so we were hidden from any outside eyes. Then we fell to the rug where I had been that morning and I thought that maybe I would feel a little better if I could be even closer to him. But even through his touch and the way he kissed me like he knew me so well, exactly what I wanted, there was no joy in me. It was like I was outside of my body going through the motions and so I stopped kissing him and just lay there on the floor. He sat up and looked at me. Then he handed me my shirt, got up and went off to our room. The living room ceiling was made of incredible wooden beams painted a whitewash. There was one smudge up there where a seagull got in the house once and went nuts and bumped against it all crazed. Luna caught it with a wicker basket and a magazine, screaming with victory when she caught and put it outside while I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. Now, I could feel little streams pouring down the sides of my face and was surprised because I didn’t even realize I was crying. I found my skirt on the floor and fumbled in the pocket for my phone, then I texted Luna, ‘please, please come home.”
I crawled back onto the couch, covered my naked body with my skirt and shirt like they were small blankets, and fell asleep.
When I woke up feeling cold, the sun was shining in through the windows. I could hear Zoe singing in her bed. I picked up my clothes from the floor and pulled everything on, then went to my bedroom. Chris was gone, and so was his bag. I suddenly felt a huge weight lifted from my heart, while simultaneously wishing that I didn’t push away the best parts of my life, as though they would expire if I didn’t.