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Romance

William always kept his promises. It was one of the reasons I married him. I heard him open the front door and drop his keys on the table. His steps were heavy on the stairs, as he made his way to our bedroom. A few moments later, his large athletic frame filled the doorway and his intense black eyes met mine. I could tell he had seen my suitcases by the front door.

“Lie to me,” I said. 

He lowered his gaze to the floor. He stepped inside the room and walked to the window. He pushed back the curtain, “It looks like a storm is coming,” he said, trying to distract me.

“William,” I said choking on his name, “I’m leaving you.”

He turned around slowly and our eyes met again. “I know,” he said, “I told you this day would come.” 

This time I pulled my eyes away from his and starred at my trembling hands. He moved to stand over me and put his cold hands on the sides of my face. I closed my eyes hoping I could push back the tears, but they spilled over. He brushed my tears away and gently tucked my hair back behind my ears. 

“It’s ok, Katie,” he said, “My own mother couldn’t handle it. How can I expect you to?” 

I laid back on the bed and closed my eyes. I had promised him that I could live with his honesty. But I hadn’t counted on the fact that the routine of marriage and his consistent truth, would wear down my confidence and self-esteem.

“I do love you,” I said as I sat up, “You know I do. It’s just that every day I’m losing another bit of myself. I know I’m lazy on Sundays, but I don’t need to hear it. I know I spend too much on shoes and that my meatloaf is dry, but it would be nice once in a while, if you could just lie. If you could just tell me that my hair looks good when it doesn’t or that you really liked your birthday present. 

He collapsed down on the bed next to me and let out a sigh. He put his warm hand on top of mine. I pulled it away and turned to face him. This time I was going to tell him exactly how he made me feel. How could this man be so kind, while spouting such awful truths to me. Anger filled my chest and made it hard to breathe.

“It’s not going to work this time, Will, I can’t do this anymore,” I spit at him, “I know what you’re doing and I’m not going to fall for it. You're full of kindness, till you ruin it with the truth.”

His eyes widened and his jaw stiffened. He said, “I’ve accepted that I can’t lie. I thought you did too. You think I want to upset you like this. The problem isn’t just me, you know? If everyone was honest, then I wouldn’t be so different. What’s so bad about being honest? So what, I don’t like the gift you got me. Maybe my honesty is better than a marriage full of lies. You know when I say I was with friends, I really was. You know if I say I’m working late, that’s exactly what’s happening.”

There it was. It wasn’t him with the problem. It was me. But I knew other people hated his honesty too. I could still imagine the face of my seven year old niece whose heart was broken when he proclaimed, “Santa’s not real, sweetie.”

“Sometimes we lie to protect the people we love,” I said, “How could we even consider having children? You’d probably tell the world our baby was ugly.”

He pushed himself off of the bed and walked to his dresser. He opened the top drawer and sorted through the papers he stored there, pulling out an envelope. He opened it and thumbed through it’s contents. After considering it for a moment, he turned and handed it to me. “Take this with you,” he said his voice cracking. 

I took it and studied it for a moment. The return address was printed in green ink and it read, “Lawson Family Estate Planning.” 

“What’s this?” I said.

He sat down next to me again and this time his hands were shaking in his lap and he didn’t try to touch me. “I had this drawn up before we were married,” he said coldly, “It gives you fifty percent of everything we have and a monthly alimony that should help you get re-started.” With that he got up and went into the bathroom and shut the door. 

 My heart ached and my stomach flipped. I loved him. He was right. I loved the fact that I always knew where he was, what he was doing and how he was feeling. But listening every day to the truth about yourself and the world around you, wears you down. I put the letter on the bed and went and opened the bathroom door. He was leaning over the sink with his head down. I could tell he’d been crying. 

“If you loved me,” I cried, “You would keep trying. You would try another medication. Maybe another doctor! If you wanted to give us a chance, you would try.” 

He turned toward me and now his eyes were full of frustration. “You want me to walk around like a zombie all day? Would that make it better? All that junk did was sedate me.” He continued as tears rolled down his face again, “This is my curse, Katie. I think about a lie and then I speak the truth. The blunt, honest words escape my lips before I can stop them. I thought you understood? I thought that’s why you married me?”

He was right. I married him because he was honest and now I was leaving him because I couldn’t stand it any longer. I turned to leave and he grabbed my hand. In a moment he had his other arm wrapped around my hips and he pulled me into a hug. He buried his head in my shoulder and let out a sigh. My body molded to his and I wrapped my arms around his waist. I knew the remedy for this situation and so I used it. 

Pushing away from his embrace, I looked into his eyes, “How long will you love me?”

 It was a question I never dared to ask him. As a matter of fact, I avoided all questions about the future, fearing the answers. His eyes were clear now and when they made contact with mine, it felt like he was speaking to my soul. My whole body stiffened, prepared for the truth. He put his hands on my face, which kept me from running away.

“I will take care of you for as long as you will let me,” he choked, “And I will love you even after my soul leaves this earth. I’m sorry for hurting you. I want to lie to you to make it better, but I can’t. I promise, I will always be there with the truth. And as far as babies go, they are ugly when they are born. Everyone knows that.”

I laughed and felt the heat of happiness rising from my stomach and into my face. I wasn’t sure if he could feel it until he removed his hands from my face and gathered me into a giant hug. He lifted me off the ground and carried me to a big chair, which sat next to the window. I buried my head in his shoulder. He lowered us into the chair and I looked up into his eyes smiling.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “I guess I should have asked that question a long time ago.”

“I guess so,” he said smiling and he kissed me.

January 14, 2021 19:15

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2 comments

21:29 Jan 19, 2021

Well done! It was very descriptive!

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Deborah Sansone
01:27 Jan 21, 2021

Thank you

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