When I See Your Face, Part 28
There was only one thought on her mind: Enough is enough.
Exactly like some weeks ago, she felt she’d lose her sanity, lose herself if she allowed herself to be hurt so much. Fighting hard against the moisture that seeped into her eyes and against what felt like her heart bleeding, she wheeled around and ran back into the room.
He called after her, but didn’t follow. That was another sign that she was right and he was wrong, wasn’t it?
She slammed the door shut behind her and sank to the floor like an inflatable toy robbed of all its air. Curling herself into a ball on the wooden floorboards, she gave in to the tears and cried her heart out. In the middle of all the anguish at having been used by another man she had thought she loved, it registered that Michael walked right up to the room door, stood in front of it for long minutes and walked away without a word.
When there were no more tears left to cry, she looked up, disoriented from exhaustion, an empty stomach and emotional pain. Her gaze hit the window that showed her an impossibly green landscape, a few brown-, yellow- and red-colored trees and a grey-blue, cloudless sky. It was as if the outside were calling to her.
Yes, there was a life for her out there. This had been the last time that she had cried. She didn’t need Mark, didn’t need Michael. She had never needed them. They had needed her, to trample on, to feed their egos on, to face their dismal lives. All of a sudden, anger and determination won over hurt and disillusionment.
She got up, walked over to the bed, stooped low and pulled out her suitcase. For a moment, seeing it and remembering the many times in the recent past that she had packed and unpacked it, she felt as though squeezed by a giant fist that wanted to drain her of her will. Stubbornly, she fought the invisible fetters tying her to another place she didn’t belong to. With deliberately precise and controlled movements, she walked around the room and collected all the personal items she had only the day before put into their new place.
If there was one positive thing to learn from her husband, it was his ability to let nothing deter him from what he wanted and what he probably thought was right.
After she had packed all her clothes and books and changed from her nighty into cream-colored jeans and a sweatshirt with bright leopard print, she tied her hair back, closed her suitcase and grabbed her handbag.
Without looking back, she walked all the way to the front door. Putting the suitcase down and realizing that it had gotten somewhat lighter than the first time of escaping, she took her fur-collared parka from its hook and threw it on.
With a will of iron, she forbid herself from turning to face Michael, who had come running down the stairs at the sound of her footsteps.
“Are you leaving?”
“What does it look like?”
Where did this confidence come from? How did she manage to stay so cool and appear so calm when all she wanted was to shout at him and pummel him and demand an explanation and be comforted by him and lie in his arms?
“Aren’t you giving me a chance to explain? Do you think so little of me and so highly of him?”
There was some anger and lots of hurt in his voice. Every nerve of her being screamed at her to turn and give him a chance. Resolved, she stepped into her shoes and opened the door.
“Don’t you think you had enough chances?” she asked, her voice breaking ever so slightly despite her determination not to show him how much he had hurt her and succeeded in whatever his cruel plan had been.
When there was no answer, she stepped over the threshold and walked down to the road, holding her head high.
Her new life was awaiting her.
* * *
Roughly an hour later, she rested her head against the window-pane of the bus putting a distance between herself and her second attempt at a happy life. Once again, she was in pain, leaning on something inanimate for support and relief that it certainly wouldn’t give. Heck, what could a pane of dusty, comfortingly cool glass do against heartbreak? What the hell could she do against it?
Not caring where it would take her, she had spent her last bit of cash on a ticket to the final destination of the bus. The glass felt cool against her hot, slightly swollen and red face, the steady throbbing of the engine reassuring. As it had been the first time when travelling to the village, she had no eyes for the scenery passing by, alternating between villages and landscapes and here and there a somewhat bigger town. It felt like a colossal effort to keep her head leaning against the window and her eyes from closing.
What she needed now wasn’t more time spent motionlessly, thinking aimlessly. She wanted to sleep, to sink into oblivion and wake up with new determination and at least an inkling of how to go on, how to pick up the shattered pieces that were her life and reassemble them in a way that would make more sense.
There was no sleep to be found. She was afraid to try during the bus ride, dreading the nightmares that would surely attack her and have her wake up screaming. Instead, she ducked deeper into the soft fur collar of her parka and studiously avoided making eye contact with the handful of other passengers in the bus.
As there was no temporary relief of sleep, thoughts kept chasing each other in her head. Round and round, like a caged tiger in the zoo, prowling, sharpening its claws.
The memories were the worst. All the happy moments she had shared with Michael. Their kisses and promises of more bliss. Their garden work. The first dinner together. Snatches of conversation coming back and looking much clearer now. How angry he had always sounded at her mentioning Mark, how personally he had taken matters, how convinced he had been that her husband was wrong. And now it turned out he might have been even more wrong! Or was it her who was the most wrong of all, misjudging first one and then the other brother and attaching herself and her life to people who didn’t deserve it.
How would she be able to forget this man who had within the span of a few days succeeded in becoming more dear and important to her than her husband of more than a year?
(To be continued tomorrow.)
Back to the Beginning