~ Something I wasn't looking for ~

~writing prompt challenge~

Jennifer Spang

Lately everything that had been left of our marriage was only a shattered mess:
The love, once planted and ever-growing in our hearts, had become cold and destroyed, a whole mountain of shards.
All the talked-through nights, comfortable and enjoyable conversations were only distant memories. Replaced by fighting and screaming, so loudly and piercingly like explosions of bombs.
There was no music and laughter ringing out inside our flat anymore. Instead one could only find an almost ghostly silence.
Exactly that kind of silence you would find after a terrible catastrophy had happened.
Dancing and messing around with each other had become a silent, heavy dance of avoiding each other.
Butterflies had been turned into stones, lying heavily inside my stomach.
Trust and friendship were now suspicion and distance.

I had always believed, without even the tiniest doubt, that Mark was the love of my life.
My best friend and lover, all at the same time. My rock. The one that could always bring a smile to my face, no matter how shitty my day had been. The one I would spent my whole life and grow old with.
God, there were so many things left that we had wanted to do together: Travel the world. Buy a house. Watch our kids grow up there…Just…be happy…together.

Not even once had the thought crossed my mind that all of that could become unreachable. That I could lose it. Lose this one person who felt like home to me.
But now the pain and this whole dark abyss between us kept growing stronger with every day passing by.
And the worst thing about it was that we couldn’t even admit it yet, that no one wanted to be the first person to say it out loud.
Admit that we failed, breaking all our vows along the way.

It was tearing me apart. Missing him so badly that I thought my heart was about to break into a thousand pieces. While being so close to him at the same time. At least physically.

„Mark?“ My voice sounded weak and full of insecurity. „What would you like to have for dinner?“
He was sitting on the sofa, his eyes focused on the TV, his back turned on me.
All I got as a response was an indifferent shrug. „I don’t mind.“
It was in this moment that all the pain, frustration and anger that had been eating me up for weeks finally exploded.
„Sure! Why did I even bother to ask you?! Since this is the only answer I ever get anyways!“
He exhaled deeply, but I could see his whole body tensing at my words.
„I’m exhausted.“ His voice was trembling, but he managed to keep it calm. „This is really not the right time for your accusations. I’m tired of them anyways.“
I knew that he had been under a lot of pressure. Because of his new job.
But that was way too much.
„YOU are tired of it?!“ I yelled. „You? Have you even bothered to think about me? About us? I’m so goddamn tired of your indifference! And I hate the way things are between us right now!“
„Fine!“, Mark shouted back, suddenly jumping to his feet and facing me for the first time.
His eyes, once so soft and overfloating with love, were only filled with rage and frustration now. Not a single sign of affection that I was craving for so badly.
I had to turn my face away, since I couldn’t stand seeing them like this any longer. It was ripping me apart.
„I’m sorry!“, Mark continued. „Is that what you want to hear? That I’m sorry? For working like a maniac? To make your dreams come true?“
„My dreams?“ I couldn’t believe what I just heard, couldn’t believe that he just said that.
„Well, sorry to disappoint you, but it was definitely not a part of my dream to be married to a selfish ass who is basically married to his job!“
„Then don’t be! If you are really that unhappy, pack your things and leave! Just go, right now!“
I opened my mouth to fire back at him, but not a single word escaped my mouth.
Instead I could feel tears burning inside my eyes.
But I didn’t want to cry. Not in front of him.
I turned on my heels, storming out of the living room, through the hallway and into our shared bedroom, my whole body shaking, my sight blinded by tears.
The thoughts inside of my head were spinning around, I couldn’t think clearly. But I knew I had to get away from here. Away from Mark. Before I would break down completely.

Breathless sobs escaped my mouth as I opened the wardrobe, pushing things from side to side, looking for the suitcases.
But they were nowhere to be seen.
Groaning, I turned around, stumbling towards our bed, trying hard to push away the pictures of cozy days of cuddling together.
But the suitcases weren’t under the bed either.
„Shit!“ Out of frustration I stomped my foot onto the ground.
I just couldn’t breathe in here anymore! I had to get out!

I ran out of this room to go and check the pantry and almost threw the door open. It hit the wall with a loud booming sound.
But I didn’t care about it. Had it been up to me, this whole flat could have come tumbling down!

As soon as I finally spotted the suitcases I grabbed one by its handle and wanted to pull it towards me.
Not expecting that all the other things that had been stacked up on the shelf would come with it.
I jumped backwards, letting out a scream, getting my feet away from the heavy boxes within the last seconds.
And then, for quite some amount of time, the only thing I was able to do was to stare at the mess I had just made.
Until my eyes focused on one of the boxes. Mark’s photo box. The one where he kept all the pictures of our shared memories. The one he had given me as a gift for our fifth wedding anniversary. Our last anniversary.
I knew I shouldn’t do this, knew that it would only destroy me more.
But somehow I couldn’t fight the urge to kneel down and open it. Just like I couldn’t stop looking at our love story, told through all the pictures inside the box.

Our first date at the fair. Mark feeding me popcorn. The two of us riding the ferris wheel, both of us grinning shyly into the camera.
After taking this picture, Mark had taken my hand while lowering the camera. And then he had gathered all of his courage to lean forward and kiss me.
I still remembered his lips, lying warm and soft on top of mine. The squeeze of his hand. And his excited, happy face after we had parted.

Our getting-to-know-the-family-trip. Where all of his family members had greeted me with so much love and kindness.

All our dates, little trips and holidays together.

And then, finally, me, in a beautiful white dress, being led down the aisle by my dad.
Where Mark was waiting for me, beaming all over his face despite his teary eyes.
Looking like the luckiest man on earth. Who still couldn’t believe that all of this was really happening.

I reached out, softly touching the pictures with my fingers.
Mark. With his bright smile. His dark brown hair and the way his bangs covered his forehead, only exposing the middle of it.
The fine lines around his mouth and eyes when he was laughing. His deep voice. The way he had always wrapped me inside his arms, whenever we had cuddled in together.
All of this was so familiar to me.
And I couldn’t take losing it, losing him.
A truth that just hit me with an enormous force.

„I really screwed up.“
I hadn’t heard him coming towards me,  but there he was, standing right beside me.
With a shy smile on his lips, that didn’t reach his eyes.
„May I?“, he asked, gesturing towards the floor next to me. Obviously all his anger from  before had vanished.
I nodded and he sat down next to me.
For a while none of us said anything and I could feel him thinking about what to say.
„I’m so sorry“, he eventually broke the silence. „I don’t even know what happened…Why I began to behave so differently. Like a person I really don’t wanna be.“ He let out a sigh, fumbling with his hands. „I guess I felt pressured. I mean, we never had that much money. Despite working so hard. But we always dreamed about travelling the world and buying a big house for us…and our future kids. And I wanted to make it come true, so badly. Also for me, but mostly for you… I made a promise on our wedding day…To love you and to make you happy. And in the end, I wanted to keep it so desperately that I forgot the most important thing: Showing you my love.“
A warm spark lit up my heart and I felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my chest.
I reached out to him, intertwining our fingers, giving him a reassuring squeeze.
„But I don’t need any of that“, I told him. „I just want to be with you.“
A sad smile appeared on his face. „I was afraid that this wouldn’t be enough…“
„Don’t say that“, I interrupted him. „It doesn’t matter where we are or where we live. You are my home, Mark. And I love you.“
For the first time he looked up and our gazes met. I could see his eyes softening and spotted a glow inside of them that I hadn’t seen during the last months.
His hand cupped my face, brushing gently against my cheek.
„I love you too, baby. And I promise to never treat you like that again.“
With that, Mark leaned forward, leaving a soft, warm kiss on top of my forehead.
And in this moment, I knew that we could make it. Clean up this mess and talk things out. Make everything allright again.
I knew we could be happy. As long as we had each other.