The sun has risen again and the birds chirp behind the window. The woman moves gently in the kitchen with the smell of delicious food lingering in the air and the buzzing sounds of the coffee machine and the sizzling of food being cooked in a frying pan are the music of the moment. Her hair was tied in a ponytail and the sunlight bounces off her skin. Her smiling lips moisten with a raspberry tint, and her eyes full with determination.
The man arrived from their shared bedroom, the sight in front of him unable to move him.
He watched her move like an angel would dance and the white apron that she wore, reflected as if she was glowing like one. Every day that he wakes up and gets ready for work, is where he can always find his wife. Still entranced by the way that she looks, he did not notice that the woman turned and noticed him. She smiled at him and turned off the stove. She prepared the food on his plate and hers. Only when she talked, the man was able to move. “Love, come and have some breakfast.” called his wife. He took a seat, while the woman ran off to get his coffee. The plate displays a two-layer pancake with three slices of bacon and an egg. As the woman poured coffee on his mug, he stared at his meal yet again unable to move.
He felt guilty. Sad even. Every day that he wakes up, and gets ready for work, this would have been the only time he had sat on his chair when his wife asked him to have breakfast. Normally, he would leave but not before kissing his wife on the cheek. His wife sat on his right, and looked at him, her smile turning into a frown, worried. “Love, is there something wrong?”He lifted his head to look at her, afraid of moving too fast.
‘She is beautiful.’ he thought. Anyone would be tempted to reach her face and gently feel her skin with their fingertips, doubting that she was for real. “Nothing, love” he smiled at her. “You did amazing”. The compliment made her smile reappear and she looked so happy. And she felt so giddy with her husband smiling at her. “Really? I wasn't so sure you’d like it ‘cause we haven’t been eating in a while together.” as she began to eat. The man held the fork and spoon in my hand but he couldn’t seem to touch the food. He felt like vomiting due to the guilt that is swirling in his guts. “I’m sorry about that, work has been really- “ “No, It's fine! I do understand. I just want to make you a special breakfast since you’d been working so hard.”
The air felt heavy but somehow light. The man thought to himself, he could never understand how his wife could be this understanding. He thought of yesterday and the day before that. He was a complete jerk. One could call a bad husband.
The woman noticed the man furrowing his brows with untouched food In front of him. “Love, please don’t worry about it. It's such a nice morning to spend time with you. I want to remember this as one of our good memories. Ah! What about if we take a picture?” The woman got up to get her camera on a nearby shelf and took a pic of them. “Hurry up with eating, or you’ll miss your train.” “Yeah, I’m taking the car today.” He stood up and fixed his suit. “Oh? So you’d be home early tonight?” “I suppose so, yeah.” The woman stood up as well and helped him fix his hair. “Alright, I'll be waiting.”
It was no later than Twelve midnight when he came tiptoeing in his home afraid to wake up his wife. As much as he loves his work, It doesn't mean it wasn’t tiring. Tonight he needed to join his co-worker and boss for dinner. He couldn't say no. No, that would be career suicide. So he decided to go there and send his wife a text just to notify her.
After drinking a glass of water from the kitchen, He enters their bedroom, finding his wife sound asleep. Lamps are turned on, she must've been reading, still wearing her eyeglasses. He knelt down beside his wife and stared at her. She must've been tired, he thought. He took off her glasses, carefully not to wake her up. He wouldn’t want to disturb her peace. A long moment of silence is all there is. And the room began to feel too cold and his chest felt heavy once again. ‘She is perfect.’ he thought of her again. ‘She is a literal angel.’ he carefully stood up and kissed his wife on the head before climbing on the bed himself. When would he have time? He asked himself. He thought that it would be unfair to his wife if this keeps up. She has been so understanding, so loving and he couldn’t ask for more. But why? A lot of questions trained his mind that he didn’t notice that sleep took over him.
Morning came soon, The man fluttered his eyes as the sun blared into his face. He raised his hand to shield him from the burning light. He sat up and found that yet again, No one was by his side. She must have been in the kitchen again. He moved his feet to touch the cold floor and went to the bathroom to get ready for work.
The woman hums as she cooks for her husband, the sun bouncing off the white tiles, creating an illusion that it is sparkling like diamonds. Every morning she enjoys the sight in front of her.
Emerging from the bedroom, the same old routine, He stands before her until she turns around to invite him. “Love, come sit down, I am almost done.” Instead of sitting, he went close behind his wife and gently hugged her. “ oh, Love? Are you ... alright?” His wife asked. No answer left his lips. Growing more concerned, his wife turned off the stove and turned around to face him. “Love?” he held her tightly and buried his head in the crook of her neck. “Will you please tell me what's wrong?” she felt him shook his head and he mumbled only something only she could hear. “Let's..stay like this for a little while longer, please.”
It was only when the kettle alarmed them, they noticed the time. ‘8:00’ it read. “Love, you’d be late for work.” said his wife, she fixed his hair, and searched through his orbs, and reassured him with a smile. “ you’ll be alright, okay?’ she held his hand and led him towards the door. He follows limply with a sad look on his face. The woman said goodbye and kissed him on the cheek. He looked his wife straight in the eye and the woman thought that he was going to say something, but instead, he leaned in to kiss her lips. “See you later?” he asked, his voice hushed and cracked. His wife smiled at him and nodded. She wouldn’t deny her being confused and worried but she kept a smile on her face for him. The man turned around to leave with his head down but with long strides.
His wife is perfect. She never once made him doubt that she is a good person. She is understanding. Through all of the stupid things that he did, She always put him first before her own. She was accepting and he couldn't believe how this woman chose him to spend her life. She made him laugh and she was a gift from god. But now, He felt nothing. It hurts him more than anyone could think and he tried to feel something, anything close to what he felt before. But it was lost. He didn't want to lose her, No. But he knows that it would be unfair. Not to him and not to his wife. He hugged her knowing that it would've been the last time to hug her. He kissed her to feel something, to prove to himself that this was just a pace in marriage. But there was nothing.
Nothing but guilt and fear.
He was guilty of hiding it, for stalling and pretending that he still does. And he felt like living his life was a whole lie. He did love his wife, He truly did, and he still does, but not in that way anymore. He is a man who had everything a man could have ever wanted but he felt empty, cold, and pathetic.
He felt scared. Scared of hurting her more. She didn't deserve this and it was out of his control. But also, he felt the fear of losing her, the only one he has left. If he could turn back the time he would fix whatever went wrong.
He wouldn't want to let go. If things could stay like this forever, he would if it weren't for her.
Then he decides that if he cannot love her as he did before, then he should be at least honest with her.
When he came home at night, his wife was sitting on the couch reading her book, his arrival unnoticed by her. He memorized her just one more time before calling out for her. “Oh love! You're home.” She closed her book and welcomed him with an embrace. She asked if he had eaten but the man sat on the chair, told her that they needed to talk. She calmly sat down on the chair in front of him and waited for her husband to speak.
He felt his throat clench, and dry that the words leaving out of his mouth are a croak of unfinished words. His hand began to tremble and freeze. He is holding his breath and stopping his tears from spilling out. He felt his wife reach his hand and squeezed his. He looked at her with her eyes encouraging him to speak. She smiled at him again. Seeing her smile at him makes it more difficult for him. He was going to take away this woman’s smile.
“I- love, I can’t. Sorry.” he started. “I don’t feel- I don’t think it's unfair to you and I can’t let it all go away. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he began to sob. His wife came closer and held his face to look at him. “ We’ll be alright”. As he heard this, confusion flooded his mind. “How- How can you feel this way? I - I was not- failed to be a good husband to you! How in the right mind can you act like this?” His voice was frustrated, right there and then his wife wanted to hold him and took his pain away. She knew. She was not stupid enough to not notice. For the past few months, time grew shorter with him. He started working till late, weekends began to disappear and soon did special occasions as well. He had more fun at work than the time he spent with her. At first, she thought that there was someone else, and that made her afraid. She checked his shirt, checked his phone when she asked him for it. but she never got a clue. Her husband gave her the phone and he didn't seem to mind. Sooner or later the thought left her mind. She wouldn't lie, she felt relief that there isn't someone else. But the reality crept in and that short feeling of happiness soon vanished. She didn't know if she was in the right mind to feel happy even. If he didn't have anyone else then why? She thought during the first week that he was just excited to finally have his dreams come through. She wanted to be a good wife so she stood supportive. She reminds herself every time that she loves him and wants him happy. He would take her with him to his office parties and she would buy a gown to impress him. She would stand close beside her husband with her hands wrapped around his arm. She noticed the happiness on his face and she never felt proud. It wasn't that he was a bad husband. Never did she think that. He would still buy her jewelry and kiss her goodbye when he leaves. From time to time they went to the market and enjoyed doing the groceries. It was normal but something heavy in the air. She started to think that it was just a pace in the marriage, like what her husband thought. But time went on and the air became heavier and the room got cold, then like slowly sinking down the sea, completely being submerged with the blue. Like a glass being filled. She realized that it wasn’t just a pace, it simply isn't there anymore, not in his heart. Her knees began to feel weak but she couldn’t spill her tears. She knew and she couldn't keep denying that this is where it will lead to.
She felt numb and tired but she decided that she would hold on. Seeing her husband in the morning standing before her, She prayed that the time would stop and stay like this, him looking back at her. Even though the truth hurts, she just wanted to hold on to him for a bit, but she had to let go at some point. She noticed long ago but then why does feel that the time was still too short. The moment her husband sat during breakfast when she had invited him, she was shocked, happy, and yet scared. She predicted that he would be honest soon, but she never thought this soon.
She had prepared herself and chose to enjoy the remaining time they have together. Every morning she wakes up before him and cooks for him whether he sits to eat or not. When he leaves, she memorizes every detail of the day. From the mess her husband leaves on the bed, The picture frames hanging on the wall, but she stares at the kitchen the most. Where they used to cook breakfast during the weekend mornings and make their hot beverage during a cold night. How could it feel so empty? She asks each day. She stands before the kitchen where light enters the window and touches everything yet nothing seems to move even her. She even read all the books they used to read at night whenever one of them couldn’t sleep which was mostly her. She misses the voice of her husband lulling her to sleep. She had to get used to reading them alone, she told herself. But she supposed it wasn’t enough.
Now that her husband was in front of her, She couldn’t stop the tears rolling down her cheeks. She didn’t know what would happen tomorrow but she knows that she wants to hug him and reassure him one last time before letting him go.
“I knew that you didn’t love me anymore-” “but I do!” he protested, but enough was enough for her. “But it wasn't the way before! And I understand that!”
The man felt emptier and he felt his head splitting with ache. “ I swear that I didn't mean to! I didn't know what happened and I -” “It's fine love. You’re fine.” She holds him tight, hoping to take away his pain. “ You don’t have to blame yourself because I understand.”
He Hugs her back like a child that wouldn’t want to let go. They let themselves cry, they accepted the truth, but more importantly, they set themselves free. As they sway lightly through the night, they let go of everything that was burdening them.
The sun rose again and blinded the man. He reached for his wife but no one was there. He wasn’t sure if it was a dream but he remembered going to bed with his wife last night. With a beat of his heart, he sprinted towards the kitchen and saw his wife once again. But she was dressed up with her luggage beside her. Feeling his presence, the woman looked at him. “ I... I cooked your breakfast just in case you want to eat something and I left the -” “You’re leaving?” He was desperate to know that he didn’t care what his wife was about to say. The woman smiled at him and stepped closer to him. “ I have to. I’m going back to my town.” She swept his hair from his face and then cradled his cheeks with one hand. “You have to let me go and do something for yourself this time. Choose to put yourself before me." The man was about to protest when she shook her head and silenced him with her thumb against her lips. “You have been so good to me, but it's time I let you go. Thank you for being honest with me when I wasn’t with you.” She told him as she held her own tears. “Don’t forget about me, alright?” The man choked on his sob, before answering. “Never. Never ever.” he leaned his head to meet his wife's. He closed his eyes hoping that he’d soon wake up. He hears her whisper “ I will always love you.” until he felt her lips kiss him for the very last time.