a day in the life.

Father. (short short story)

Posted in Uncategorized by erin on the December 14, 2011

The dark house swallowed me whole as I made my way from room to room, breathing in the loneliness. I didn’t bother with the lights, knowing they would not take away the pain. I question how I got here, how this happened to me; where did I go wrong, what could I have done differently? Things like this are supposed to happen to other families- the ones that are missing parents or have serious issues like alcohol or drugs- not ours. My wife and I gave him everything he wanted. But then again, I gave her everything she wanted and she just filed for a divorce. But before she could leave, he physically abandoned us. So, she just emotionally abandoned me, as if I have no feelings of my own. Well I guess she assumed I didn’t, I never set goals or had any aspirations for myself. I went to work, made money, and provided for my family. I thought I was doing the right thing by being selfless, clearly I was wrong.
We ate breakfast at that dining room table together every morning. Now, I sit alone and quietly sip my coffee. The absence of laughter breaks my heart with each passing day. I pretend he will walk through the door and fall into my arms. He can unravel, breakdown, talk- he can tell me everything or he doesn’t have to say a word- he just needs to come home.
My wife won’t look at me as if I drove him away or forced him to leave. I never once blamed her but I should have. I take her meals to her now but besides that, I no longer stay in our once lively bedroom where love peeled off the walls along with the old wallpaper. What she does in there haunts me, why won’t she let me save her anymore? I want to at least protect her but she won’t let me, she’ll say I couldn’t protect him and he’s gone. I should just leave too. The guilt of not being able to support my family eats at me constantly. At work, I can’t function, believing I’m solely responsible for the life we lead now.
It was a Tuesday. I was preparing a meal for us, even though she altogether stopped eating, when I heard the lock on the door flip over. He stood in the doorway with tears in his eyes, bruises and dry blood on his face. He flew into my open arms, hard enough for me to stumble backwards and hit the counter. It was a beautiful pain. No words were spoken- nothing needed to be said. We sobbed into each other’s necks. The love was between us as it used to be when he was a small child, as if it had never went away. We made our way up the stairs, hand in hand, to my wife’s door. He went in first and instantly threw up on the dresser we purchased while vacationing as a family. When I thought the guilt vanished, it crept back like a thief in the night, stabbing me with every breath. But I felt something I thought had gone forever. Happiness. She was cold and blue. I’d never seen her look more beautiful.

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