here. The writing prompt she gave me is: "You knew it was going to happen. It was inevitable. You felt it, deep in your bones..."
Ay yi yi... here we go...
It was an unusually warm day for early March. It was so quiet that the silence had that funny low hum to it. I sat in the room, gathering my thoughts, deep breathing some calm that I didn't quite feel. There was a soft knock just before the door opened. She walked in, looking particularly lovely in her fuchsia satin jacket and little black dress. She smiled at me. It was the kind of smile you get from friends who really love you. I smiled back.
She said, "It's so peaceful in here. Why would anyone want to leave?"
I joked back, "Well, y'know... I've got someplace to be."
She came over and hugged me, then took my face in her hands, and said, "Just remember, it's not done until you say, 'I do.'"
I knew what she was trying to tell me. I knew she was telling me that maybe this wasn't the right step for me. I knew that she knew that I knew exactly what she was saying. She was trying to give me an out. I could tell it took everything in her to not say, "Please don't marry him. This is a mistake."
I knew she was right. I felt it too.
I drew in a shaky breath and considered it for a moment. I thought, "She's right. I should run."
But plans had been laid for months, for nearly a year. Friends and family had traveled hundreds of miles to be there. There were 300 deviled eggs and spiral cut ham and pasta salad and cheesecakes waiting.
Besides, I was already dressed. And this is what good catholic girls do. They marry the guy they're sleeping with. They make the best of it even if they know it's not the best choice. They do the right thing in their mama's eyes.
An hour later, I was walking back down the aisle with him, hand in hand. Glad it was done, hopeful, but feeling the dread, and hearing some distant voice inside me saying, "What have you just done?"
I made the best of it for as long as I could. I had enough other distractions in my life that I could ignore a lot of the underlying dissatisfaction in my marriage. I had my craft projects. I had friends. I had work. In truth, he wasn't a bad guy, he wasn't difficult to live with or be around. He was merely apathetic to anything going on around him. Anything but what was on TV.
But I knew that when it began, just as I knew it eight years later when I packed my bags and boxes.
It was an unusually cool day for late May. It was quiet, and I was calm, but for the low thrum of excitement and anticipation that coursed through my veins. I looked over the small collection of things I was taking with me. There was a slight tap on the door. He stood there, tears rimming his eyes. It was the kind of look that you know you will never forget - a little bundle, wrapped in guilt and sorrow, to carry forever.
He said, in an oddly distorted echo of her words so many years before, "Why do you have to leave?"
Twisting my own echoed words in response, I said, "Well, y'know... I've got to be."