I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (if you celebrate it). We came home today from a week away at Emma’s parents’ house in Christchurch (65okms away, in the South Island, 1h30 on a plane, then 1h drive). We ate too much and laughed a lot. Glad to be home though.
I did get in some writing while we were away, using the bluetooth keyboard and my phone (rather comical, since the keyboard is big and my phone rather small).
Great news! My characters finally have names. Enjoy!!
The cursor hovered over the folder marked “Can’t deal right now” for what felt like the hundredth time that day as Emily waged a war with herself. The number of emails in the folder had gone up by one the day after he had shown up at her house eight days ago and her curiosity was getting the better of her. Today was a year since that horrible screaming match they’d had about marriage and babies that had prompted her to suddenly move out. A day since she had shut him out of her life and tried to forget about the love they had shared.
The day she had moved out she had blocked him on all social media, then blocked his personal email address on her professional email but it hadn’t felt right to block him on her personal address. She was acutely aware she had left without giving him a chance to explain his side of the argument –she’d pretty much shut him up with sex and she was not proud of that– and while at the time she was not ready to hear what he had to say, the little voice in her head had not let her remove him from her life completely. She’d considered getting herself a new email address but the hassle of letting all her contacts know had been more than she could bear at the time so instead she’d made use of the special filters and created a folder where his emails ended up, bypassing her inbox completely. There had been quite a few emails in the first few months then one in January, around the time she’d heard about the girlfriend, then that new one last week.
Seeing him again the week before had sparked the longing all over again and the hug before he’d left had just made it a thousand times worse. It was her fault, really, for asking him for to hold her in the first place. She sighed and closed her eyes. She remembered all too well the feel of his arms around her, the scent of his aftershave hitting her nostrils when she’d buried her face against his chest, the raw emotions that had flooded her heart, causing yet more tears. She opened her eyes and clicked on the folder. Maybe it was time. Time to see what he had to say. Time to get that closure she realised now she’d been avoiding, because it would mean that four years of her life had been for nothing. She had known he would mention marriage and kids, eventually, yet she had always managed to avoid the subject or to redirect the conversation to a safer subject. She hadn’t told him. In the four years they had been together she had not found the words she needed to explain the trauma she’d experienced growing up with parents consumed by ambition and resentment.
She was an only child, an experiment of sorts for her parents, one they considered a failure, and she’d always felt their disappointment acutely. She’d been a lonely child, the various nannies and au-pairs staying just long enough to get attached to before they were sent away by her parents. They were too busy with their respective careers to care much about what became of their daughter and yet they hated the thought of her fostering an attachment to someone they paid to look after her. If she got attached to someone her mother had hired, her father would fire them and hire someone else, only for her mother to fire that person in turn. Again and again they’d played that little game, trying to get one up on the other, at the expense of their marriage and their relationship with their daughter.
In her teens she’d fallen with the wrong crowds, a rebellious teenager desperate for love in the wrong places, a walking cliché. At eighteen she’d run away and never looked back. She’d worked very hard to get where she was today, co-owner and operator of a successful event planning business, and she absolutely loved her job. Then she’d met Richie and even though she had fallen hard and fast she had kept that part of her past under lock and key. That fateful night she had known she was out of time, and she had panicked. When confronted with a potential proposal once the wedding subject had been broached, her instinct had been to run, so run she had.
She decided to start with the latest email, dated eight days ago. Holding her breath, she clicked on it.
15 April 2017
I know you probably won’t read this email anymore than you read any of the other ones I have sent you in the past year but I wanted to apologise again.
I should not have followed you home. I put you on the spot and upset you and for that I am truly sorry. I only thought of my feelings and gave in to my urge to see you, without pausing to think what it would do to you. I guess I needed some closure that I didn’t get last year.
I’m not going to plead with you to give me another chance. I know we’re past that, no matter how much it still hurts. For me anyway. You have clearly moved on. I thought I had too, I had Eve and then I saw you across that room and the feelings were back. The ache in my heart. The craving you. Eve noticed straight away of course, she’s a clever woman and since she takes no shit from anyone she dumped me on the spot. I had it coming, I suppose. I told her I was over you but one look at you was enough to make me (and her) realise that that was far from the truth.
Anyway, that’s my problem, not yours and I can promise you that I will never show up like that again. You will be glad to know you have seen the last of me. I wish you the very best.
“No, no, no, no, no, no…”
The word went round and round in Emily’s head as she read the email. The little voice in her head shrieked at her that she’d done it, she’d finally broken the last piece of his heart–which was what she’d wanted. So why was she crying?
Are you proud of yourself? You broke this man who loved you because you’re a fucking coward. You were too chickenshit to open up to the one person who was always on your side and now you’ve lost him forever.
She wiped her tears and took a steadying breath. She could do this. Right? It was just words on a screen.