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Drama Romance Holiday

I have been standing in front of the door for the past ten minutes. My hand twitches towards the handle, but it seems like an invisible force pushes it back. The tightness in my chest makes it hard to breathe and I try my best not to let the tears fall. It takes me five more minutes to gather the courage to turn the knob. Inside, everything looks exactly the way I remember: some plants scattered around the living room, a jasmine scented candle burning on the center table, a few Christmas ornaments here and there. For a moment, it feels wrong that it all stayed the same while everything else changed.

It seems like I have been walking for forever when I finally reach the bedroom door. She is sitting on the bed, her back straight and her shoulders tense. Her dark eyes are locked on me and the black waves of her hair fall around her shoulders. The vision makes my heart race and I’m filled with the urge to turn around and walk back to my car, as if not having this conversation would make everything go back to the way it was before she called me this morning.

“Hi”, her voice is almost a whisper, as if she didn’t really plan to start talking in the first place. I’m not sure if I can open my mouth without breaking down, so I just nod slightly towards her. “You can come inside, you know.”

I take a few steps towards her, sitting on the very corner of the bed. She hesitates for a second before moving closer to me and taking my hands on hers. For a second we just sit there, looking at each other in complete silence, her hands holding mine.

“Sam, why are you doing this?”, the sound of my voice makes me feel weak. She closes her eyes and sighs, as if I’m the one causing her pain.

“I just really need to be alone right now”, I can tell she’s holding back tears, and I hate myself for the way my body reacts, pulling her closer as if she is the one who needs comforting. “I’m so sorry.”

“That’s all I get? A standard break up line?”, I rest my forehead against hers, taking in the smell of the body lotion I know she uses every morning after showering. The scent brings me back to good times, days spent on that very bed, laughing over silly things and talking about our future together, times where I was sure I had never been happier. I hate that now this is the moment I’m gonna remember first when I walk back into my bathroom and see her moisturizer on the cabinet.

“I don’t know what else to say”, there is a long pause before she talks again. “I just… I don’t think I love you anymore, Morgan.”

Sometimes, people will say that words can feel like a punch in the stomach or a slap in the face. This, however, felt like someone pulled my heart right out of my chest. I can almost see her words floating in the air around me, getting in through my ears and traveling through my body, they wrap themselves up around my heart and take it with them when they leave my mouth.

“You don’t love me anymore?”, I didn’t realize I was crying until I hear it in my voice. Sam reaches in my direction and then gives up midway, lowering her hand. I see her mouth open and close a few times, but nothing comes out. “When did you know?”

“I don’t know, Morgan”, she looks tired now, as if she’s had that same conversation with herself multiple times. It makes me wonder for how long she’s been thinking of ending things and this thought hurts me more than I would like to admit. “I still care about you so very deeply, but I’m not happy anymore. I don’t want to keep on lying to you for the sake of sparing your feelings.”

I’m not sure what to say to that, so I just keep my mouth shut. Sam pulls her arms around herself, and it’s the mixture of guilt and pity I see in her eyes that finally gives me the courage to get up from the bed. She gets up as well, fidgeting with her fingers.

“I have some things for you”, she manages to say, turning around to get something I didn’t notice was sitting on her nightstand. When she faces me again, there is a cardboard box in her hands, which she holds up in my direction. Inside, I can see some clothing I accumulated in her place over the time, a toothbrush, some drawings and a few letters I wrote her over the four years we were together. In the corner, I see a small box I don’t recognize.

“That’s not mine”, I hand it back to her, but she doesn’t make a move to take it. 

“It’s a Christmas gift”, she smiles slightly for the first time since I got here, and I almost can’t handle how much I still love her. “I made it a few months ago, but I think you should have it anyway.”

We don’t say anything else for a while. She watches in silence as I make my way to the front door and open it.

“Merry Christmas, Morgan”, she says when I look back in her direction, to which I respond by closing the door. I don’t remember walking back to my car, but I’m sitting in the front seat with her gift on my lap. My hands are shaking when I open the box. Inside, there is a small book with a blue and purple hand-painted cover. I recognize the title as something I wrote a few years ago, when we first started dating. The pages are filled with not only my story, but a few illustrations made by her: some of the characters, perfectly portrayed scenarios that looked exactly the way I described in the book. On the last page, a note written in ink:

“I’ve read many stories you wrote over the years, but I still think this is the best of them all. I hope this gives you the courage to finally share it with the rest of the world and, more than that, I hope this serves as a reminder of  all the good we made each other.”

The tears come unexpectedly, falling onto the cover of the book and ripping sobs from my throat. I’m sure Sam could see me if she looked through the window, having a breakdown in her driveway while holding her gift close to my chest, but I can’t bring myself to stop. I don’t know how long I stay there, crying so hard I can barely breathe, but eventually the sobs become more sparse and my body stops shaking. I take one last look to the blue house I know like the palm of my hand, mustering the courage to leave it behind. And then I drive away. 

November 22, 2022 19:20

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5 comments

Wendy Kaminski
05:26 Nov 27, 2022

This made me cry, too, and I don't even know what I'm crying about! You have a great gift for expressing peoples' emotions in text that make the reader really feel them. Excellent (if sad) story!

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11:22 Nov 28, 2022

Thank you, Wendy!

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Starry Skies
16:06 Nov 30, 2022

I love this story, it really tugged at my heart. Well done!

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12:52 Dec 02, 2022

Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it :)

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Marty B
06:38 Nov 28, 2022

That is the best gift ever!

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