Words like tiny little daggers through her heart, because she hadn’t had the guts to open up to the man she loved about her past. With a trembling hand Emily clicked on the oldest email. The one Richie had sent a week after she’d moved out. The one she’d wanted to read the longest; so many times she had stopped herself from opening in the first couple of weeks, telling herself that he wouldn’t, couldn’t, possibly understand her fears, her very legitimate reasons to stay as far away of marriage and babies as possible. Marriage and babies changed people, made them bitter and twisted and resentful.
29 April 2016
“It’s been a week. I’m not even sure you’ll read this but I need to get it out of my head before I go mad from missing you.
The house feels empty and lifeless without you in it. I don’t want to go home at night, because you’re not there and everywhere I look things are missing. Your things. I can’t believe you just moved all your stuff out like that while I was at work. Do the past four years mean so little to you? Do I mean so little to you that you can just move out like that, nearly overnight, and pretend that it never happened? That we never happened?
You need space. I get it. What I don’t get is why you are shutting me out like this. I’m in your corner. I’ve always been in your corner. I love you. You know that. I don’t understand why you got so angry about this marriage and baby thing but I will listen should you choose to let me in, at last.
YOU are more important to me than marriage vows and babies.
OK, you got me, I was thinking of asking you to marry me that night, I even had a ring. Not because it’s been 4 years and I think we need to. Not because my mother is going on and on about marriage and grandbabies. Not because I want you ‘chained to the kitchen barefoot and pregnant’. But because I wanted to make this commitment with you, to you, to our relationship and our life together. Because you make me happy and I want the world to know I’m married to this wonderful talented woman who built an amazing successful business from scratch and she is kicking butt running it. I am so proud of you, sweetheart, and I hope you’ll give me a chance to show you how much you mean to me.
Give me a chance, Em.
She clicked next to read the one he’d sent two weeks after she had run away. It was a short one.
6 May 2016
“I miss you.
Please come home so we can talk about this?
I love you.”
The one after that was like a kick in the gut and made her feel sick. Still she kept reading, tears streaming freely down her cheeks.
21 May 2016
“Well it’s been a month and not a word from you. No text. No email. No calls. Nothing. Like you erased me from your life completely. I remember laughing with you when you blocked your racist uncle on Facebook that time and how we joked about how handy it could be to block people IRL too. Now that I find myself blocked, for real, by the one person I love the most in the world I don’t think it’s very funny anymore.
I considered showing up at your work, to talk to you but you’d probably hide and get Letty to call the cops on me and well, what’s the point? You made it clear you want nothing to do with me. I don’t understand. I don’t like it. I miss you. And yes, I won’t lie, I’m angry. FOUR YEARS we were together, and you disappear because we have an argument about your FRIEND quitting her job to get married and have kids? Do you realise how whack that is? How fucking irrational? How fucking HURTFUL? Do you even care that I miss you every day? That I look for you everywhere I go? That some nights I drink until I pass out because it hurts so fucking much that you’re not there with me? That I can’t sleep at night because I miss you lying next to me in bed? I miss listening to your breathing when I wake up in the middle of the night. I miss your laugh and the way you shake your head when I tell a crappy joke. I miss the softness of your skin and I miss kissing you. I miss YOU.
My mother keeps asking me what I did wrong to make you leave. I have no answer for her. I don’t know why you left. All I know that you couldn’t run away fast enough after that night. I am left wondering why it took you four years to do that. It occurred to me that we never really had that conversation, you and me. The one about the future, marriage and babies. I also realised that the few times I tried to initiate, you very cleverly redirected the conversation. I don’t know why. I’m guessing something to do with your past that you never talk about.
Not that I think you care but I’m moving out. I can’t stand this apartment with all the memories of you, of us any longer. I can’t keep living like this, reaching out for something only to find it’s not there any more. I have no idea what your current living arrangements are and I can only hope that I am not accidentally moving to the part of town you live in.”
Emily stopped reading because the tears made it impossible to see the screen in front of her. She felt as if all the air had been taken out of the room and the pain in her chest had become unbearable.
She got off her chair and walked outside, trying to stop crying, to stop hyperventilating but the sun on her face was too bright and her legs buckled under the knowledge that she had single-handedly destroyed her only chance at happiness.