Where one man goes for and from heartbreak.
|He sat alone with his thoughts in the same dark corner of the same smoky bar that he often found himself in. Allowing this same private torture to take place in this same public hell. It wasn’t an uncommon thing for him, in fact was all too common. So were the thoughts that tortured him.
They were the same, night after night, the doubts, the questions, the passions, the profusions, the pain. They whirled around his mind, showing him no mercy, showing in the lines on his face. It was three months to the day since he knew what peace felt like; it was just as long since he’d been shown hell.
A man of action can be paralyzed in the blink of an eye when he realizes that he can’t do anything. That’s what he was once, a man of action, until that last night. Until he realized that there was nothing he could do. Until he realized that she didn’t love him anymore and there was no way for him to change that.
* **** ***
It had been a long day at work, too many meetings talking about other meetings, too many bosses giving him too many impossible tasks and he was looking forward to getting home. He made his way through the snow that had begun to fall during the last meeting of the day, stopping for flowers on the way. As he walked up the stairs to the third floor apartment that they shared he could almost see her sitting in her favorite chair, reading a book with the glasses that she didn’t need sitting way down on the tip of her nose. It was how he usually found her on days like this, generally with the smell of dinner wafting into the hallway welcoming him home.
What he called home anyway, home for him really was 1367 miles east of where they were now. He had measured in on the drive out when they moved here after she got a job offer. They had only been dating a few months but he knew it would be worth every mile. That was almost a year ago and things couldn’t have been better.
As he put his key in the door, he noticed that something was missing but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. When the warm air hit his still chilled face he realized that it was dinner, or the lack of it’s aroma that wasn’t there.
‘Hey babe, I’m home.’ It was his ritual greeting, not quite Desi Arnez but close enough.
He shrugged off the last few snowflakes that had followed him inside and hung up his coat. He saw her as soon as he turned the corner.
‘Um, hi,’ she paused as she said it. She was wearing her coat and had a bag in her hand.
That’s the moment it hit him. She was leaving.
‘I’m just going to stay with Jenny for the night, maybe two. Rick just dumped her and she’s having a really hard time. I was just about to call you.’
She had always been a terrible liar and this time was no different, and she knew it. She always bit her lower lip after she lied to him and he swore this time she was about to draw blood.
As she walked past his still shocked form, standing in the wide spot of the hallway that served as their dining room he heard her whisper a muffled ‘I’m sorry’ and then she was gone.
He thought about chasing her, he decided instead to skip the chasing all together and take his whiskey straight that night. It was there, in that suddenly very cold and empty apartment that his torment started. He recounted every moment, every day, every date, every word and every fight. That’s how he figured it out. How he realized that there was nothing he could have done, or could do now.
It was the next night before he ventured out. The snow had stopped falling, the streets and sidewalks once again full of people doing the one thing that he knew he couldn’t, getting back to their lives. He wandered aimlessly until he saw the dim lights and neon signs that told him that it would be a good place to drink alone. That was his first night in this public hell.
* **** ***
So here he had sat, every night after work, for three months. Trying to find an answer to a question he didn’t really know how to ask. Trying to find himself, the one that had been, the one that he hadn’t seen since before he packed up and drove 1367 miles west to be with her. One after another, the demons danced in his head and refused to drown in the whiskey. Until his phone rang. The number looked familiar but he couldn’t place it.
‘Sam? When are you coming home?’