Day 15: 842 words. Was inspired by someone I know.
She was walking in a fog, had been for the last four days. No amount of coaching and talking could change the way she felt since he’d left.
That morning replayed over and over.
“I love him, Claire.”
His handsome face seemed more lined than normal. The way his eyes and brow creased as he said those words. That he loved him, the man he’d been seeing for the last two years without her realizing.
“But not me, Peter?”
He clouded, the change doing nothing to mar his features. She had felt aged compared to him, the previous few minutes making her feel every single one of her forty-five years.
“I still care about you. We’ve been together too long for me not to. It’s just…”
“You’d rather fuck him and not me. I don’t have the right parts.”
Her voice sounded dead to her ears and she’d felt a twinge of regret at the hurt look in his eyes. She’d squashed that regret as the reality of what he’d done – was doing – really started to set in.
“You’re leaving me for a man, Peter. After fifteen years. After fifteen–”
She had turned away then, unable to look at him. It had been too much for her to even think about how much of her life was changing. It crashed down around her right before her eyes.
He’d walked away then. His clothes were gone the next day
The bed had become her best friend. She’d changed the sheets after he’d left, determined to start fresh somewhere. Her need to lay down had overwhelmed her after and she couldn’t stop herself from climbing under the sheets to find some solace.
A cloud hung over her, but if she stayed in bed it didn’t seem to overtake her. She could see it out of the corner of her eye. It was gray with streaks of black in it that mirrored her mood.
Hadn’t they had a good marriage? Didn’t she show him how much she loved him every day of their lives together? Tears welled up as she thought about it.
Claire had missed the signs. Willfully, she admitted to herself as she burrowed deeper in the blankets. The staying at work late, visiting a ‘friend’, and secret smiles as he eyed his texts. She’d suspected another woman, but he never expressed interest in other women. His eyes would follow an attractive man around the room before he’d ever remark on how pretty a woman appeared.
This made it harder for her somehow when it really shouldn’t have. She felt like his beard, like she’d been his cover for years and only just realized it.
The kids had been asking her what happened to their dad, but she couldn’t find the words to explain. All she could think to say was their father had left them all for a man.
She was slow to respond to her six year old. Mia was standing by the door, her hair filthy and her face covered in something brown. Seeing her daughter so unkempt shook her out of her stupor, making her wonder too how she looked.
“Hey Me-o-Mi-o.” She cleared the croak from her throat and pushed herself up into a seated position. “Come on over, sweet girl.”
Mia ambled over and Claire could see the brown bits on her shirt. It looked old and Claire crinkled her nose at the smell coming from her child. She sniffed her shirt and could smell the body odor rolling off of her.
“Let’s solve your problem and then get to the shower.”
“Are you going to leave me like Daddy, Mama?”
Her heart contracted at her innocent question.
“Listen, Mia, Daddy didn’t leave you. No matter what, Daddy loves you and will be around. We’re just… he just couldn’t live here anymore because he loves someone else more than he loves me.”
Her little girl looked way too serious and it worried her. She drew Mia into her arms, her smelly little body warm and comfortable.
This was her reminder that she had more then just herself to take care of. She couldn’t fall apart when the kids needed her.
She kissed Mia on her forehead and then turned her toward the door. “Shower time, Me-o-Mi-o. You smell like Sylvester did after he got trapped in the garbage can. Don’t you screech like he did when I dump you in the tub.”
That earned a giggle from Mia who scrambled off the bed. Claire felt the smile on her face, surprising considering she still felt that darkness consuming her. It clung to her like the cloud it was.
“You’re going to wash, Mama? You smell, too.” Mia pursed her lips in a way that made Claire think of Paul.
Tears threatened to gather, but she pushed them away. “Of course. I don’t want to smell like Sylvester either.”
Mia nodded and then trooped out the door.
Claire made her bed, ignoring the cloud hovering over her. It would be there when she crawled back under the sheets anyway.