Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why Would Anyone Leave?

Today I am writing as part of the Writer's Challenge II over at My challenge comes from Rachel, who writes 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."


  1. Sigh. Such a familiar path we have walked, indeed! Kit sees her young 19 year old self and wishes she could reach out and tell her, "Noooo!" But then - these are the stories, and paths, and pains, that have gone into the mix to make us the succulent, full-of-living, goddesses of the wild and true that we are today, right?! ;-)

  2. I enjoyed reading this piece very much. Great writing.

  3. once again you hit it just right.. yea , i am crying.. no you never forget the moment you have to tell them that it is time to go. But we have to BE.. I knew the day I married Doug it was wrong.,, but again 19 and to dumb to call it off. I have said it to 3 people.. and can remember each moment..

  4. Great interpretation of the prompt. You portrayed the emotions so well. Very well done.

  5. Such lovely symmetry within the piece. Great job. Welcome to the challenge!

  6. Thanks everyone. It was a difficult piece for me to write... but it felt good too.

    And a special thanks for the warm welcome to Supermaren! I believe I'll do it again!

  7. Barb, I have goosebumps all over. What a painful, beautiful and courageous tale. I am trying each day to live in "realness." And I love when I see it shine so beautifully in others. Thank you!

  8. Rough. I have a feeling that the scenario replays itself in hundreds of places daily. My mother found herself in a similar situation many moons ago. Life is complicated. What a wonderful answer to the prompt.

  9. Wow, thanks, Hands Free! I've been perusing your blog the past few days too... wonderful stuff. I'm honored that you think so highly of mine.

    Sir... thank you, too! Isn't it funny how we can feel alone in a world of so many similar experiences...?

  10. oh sigh. "they marry the guy they're sleeping with." i have never heard it said in exactly that way. whoosh. welcome to the challenge!


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