“I can’t do this anymore.”
We were used to shouting at each other. Angry clashes and passionate reconciliation had always been our pattern, but then a simple, calm statement ended everything. I couldn’t even summon a response, just stared blankly, searching her face for some sort of explanation.
She shook her head. “Things were supposed to be different here.” I could hear a deep, searing pain in her voice. “You said they would be different.”
“I thought they were.”
She didn’t respond for a long time, just stood in the doorway. Finally she said, “My sister’s downstairs. She’ll give me a ride. The apartment is yours now.” A pause. “Goodbye.”
She must have shut the door, but I did not, could not watch her go. At some point, night fell.
At some point, I smashed a lamp and toppled a bookshelf. At some point, I ran out of liquor. “This is your fault,” I said at last.
A thin voice replied, “No.”
“We left everything to get away from you. You weren’t supposed to be here.”
“You . . .” the voice creaked, “brought me.”
“Leave me alone,” I pleaded.
“I . . . can’t.” And I sat in the darkness, clinging fiercely to my anger.
Story by Gregory M. Fox