How many times did she need to say it? Suppressing the urge to scream at the man, Kelly tossed her auburn hair back and bit the bullet.
“Thank you for doing this.”
Her pasted on smile did not match the ache in her heart. It had been three years. Three years spent faking; pretending; lying. She felt as if her head would explode.
Her forced gratitude as he lay aside the tea towel did not distract him from his cause.
‘No amount of planning can prepare you for the real deal.’ She suddenly recalled her co-worker’s words the week before her wedding. Words she could not grasp at the moment, but three years later, fully understood.
His unflinching glare devoured her attempt at a cool composure. Ignoring her feigned gratitude he repeated the question, “Do you love me? Say it. Go ahead and repeat what you said!”
Her hands shook as she twisted the dish cloth and wiped the counter for the fifth time, trying to steady her voice. “I simply said, yes, I love you, but I don’t like you…anymore”.
There! She had said it. Her words hit hard, like a hammer driving in the reality of hopeless despair.
The silence hung between them, an invisible wall fortified by years of tears, tempers and torment.
How does one begin again? Words cannot be unspoken and years cannot be undone. The ticking clock offered no counsel. The sun fell in golden bars across the wooden kitchen floor where they stood miles apart.
Never in a million years had she dreamed that it would be like this. Never, in her wildest dreams had she fathomed the depths that bitterness and resentment could fill. She studied the face that once she had memorized in crazy fantasies and now approached with uncertainty and…fear?
Home… the word played on her tongue and she rolled it in her cheek trying to feel it; home…the word that should suggest heaven conjured confusing suggestions of hell.
Her eyes wandered to the framed needlework above the door, lovingly stitched by a starry-eyed teenage dreamer ‘Home, sweet home’.
Tears fell, in golden shatters on the sun-patched floor…