|He had been sitting quietly in the passenger seat for about ten minutes before he finally sighed.|
“You always do this.”
“Do what?” I said “You are being completely irrational. You need to slow down, and just listen to me.” he said calmly.
We were an hour from home, and all I wanted to do was get out of that car. As soon as he said “We need to talk...” I began to panic. It was just like him to bring it up when there was nowhere for me to run. This was what he had wanted all along, the chance to get it out in the open. I couldn't blame him, I had been avoiding the subject for a while.
“I'm not stopping you from talking.”
“Emily, I'm leaving you. You knew this day was coming. You have to get on with your life.”
Tears began to stream down my face.
“Please Andrew, don't do this to me. Our life together has been so good. Haven't we been happy?” I asked.
“You're driving like a crazy person right now. Slow down, or pull over. I can't talk to you when you're acting like this.”
I ignored him and sped up.
“So that's it? You're just going to walk away from the life we've built together? You're just gonna throw it away?” I asked.
“This isn't easy for me either. I should have left you a long time ago, but you were turning into a basket case. I thought I had to stay to keep you going. I thought it was my job to make sure you were alright. I realize now that I can't be your crutch anymore. You're going to have to stand on your own two feet. You knew it was going to happen one day.”
“Stop saying that!” I pounded my fist on the steering wheel as the tears continued to roll down my cheeks. There was silence for a few moments after that.
“I can't do it without you Andrew. It's always been you and me. What happened? We were so happy, why can't we just go back to the way things used to be?” I finally pleaded.
“Because things aren't the way they used to be, and you know it. It will never be the same again. Too much has happened. If I stay, what do I get out of it? To sit and watch you live in denial, day after day? And what do you get out it? This sick fantasy world that you've created for yourself is not healthy.” I could hear the frustration in his voice.
I saw the police lights in my rear view mirror a moment later.
“I told you to slow down.” he said.
I pulled to the side of the road, and waited for the officer to approach.
“If you leave, I don't know what will happen to me.”
“This is for the best.”
I rolled down my window.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” the officer asked.
“I think I was speeding.” I said with a sigh.
“License and registration please?”
I leaned over and opened the glove compartment.
The death certificate fell out onto the floor. That's where I had put it. I didn't know what else to do. I had been driving around with it for days after the funeral. I couldn't stand it anymore, so I had shoved it into the glove compartment. I had and forgotten all about it. Until now. The memories of that night came flooding back to me. The phone call, the hospital, the doctors telling me Andrew hadn't survived the car accident. These memories made my heart feel like it was being crushed all over again. For the first time since his death, I knew he was gone. And I realized the passenger seat next to me was empty.