Outside my house, there’s a man in a silver car. Tall, blond, broad shouldered; I can see him texting, one forearm propped on the wheel. I look at him again, pulling back the curtains, giving him a wave.
I’ve been trying to pack all morning. I started right after I called the cab company. It’s hard to know what to take, when you’re trying to fit your whole life into a bag. Clothes and toiletries are replaceable. Albums and books not so much. It’s not like I can come back, negotiate for those wine glasses, argue over who owns which book.
I’m already doubting myself. I’ve tried to leave so many times. And so many times I’ve stayed, ensnared by the push –pull of objects in our house. Reminders of a potential happy ending. Maybe it doesn’t have to be like this, I think. Or maybe it does.
I walk past that patch of carpet in the hall. “PULL,” it murmurs, “Stay. Remember”. The patch when you cried, you were so sorry. It would never happen again, you loved me too much. “I can’t help it, it’s you, it’s always you – you drive me to it.”
I grab my toothbrush, and look at our bathroom door. Such an ordinary white painted wooden door. Opening onto a plain tiled bathroom. “PUSH” the door mutters. “How many times have you walked into me, you’re so clumsy!”
Going back to our room, I avoid looking in the mirror above the bed, reflecting our wedding photo on the wall. We are radiant, in love, just married. So young. Too young? “PULL” the photo whispers. “Remember your vows – til death us do part.”
“Death indeed” the mirror shouts, “PUSH! Remember the necklace you wore on your wedding day; thumb shaped marks, purple and blue.”
It’s easy, as an outsider, to say “Go! Leave him. Run, don’t walk.” All too often my hands hover over the keyboard of my laptop, hoping Google will find an escape route for me. But I don’t. I can’t. He’d search my browsing history. It’s not so easy to force yourself to fall out of love. There are good days, as well as bad. I know he loves me. He promises to go for counselling, anger management, whatever that may be.
“PULL” say the flowers in the hall vase next to a card of a teddy bear holding a heart. Inside it says I am that bear, I am holding his heart. I linger, reading his words, tracing them with my finger. My wedding band winks up at me.
And now here I am. Putting the clothes back. Brushing out the creases from my dresses. Slotting my toiletries back into the shower rack. Pushing the overnight bag back under the bed. “Another day,” I tell myself. Not today.
And I wave at you, as you get out of the car. Our car, silver and shiny. I wait for you at the door and welcome you home.
Rebecca Williams has always wanted to be a writer and after taking part in a Curtis Brown Creative Writing Course she completed the first draft of her novel – about bored housewives on a vigilante crime spree – in August 2017. She is killing time before facing up to second draft edits by dabbling in flash and shorter fiction. Her favorite authors are Margaret Atwood, Alice Hoffman and Bret Easton Ellis. She also blogs about books, music and parenting at …http://generationwhynot-stupidgirl.blogspot.co.uk/