It all started one day in January, our first major fight.
We were both screaming at each other, not really hearing what was being said. It was over something trivial, all the fights were after that day. Always pointless, but still we fought, constantly.
We were man and wife, grown adults, and we acted no better than kids in the playground. We fought, we made up, we did it all over again pretty much every day.
The same shitty cycle.
But this was a marriage, ‘Til’ death do us part’, and all that bullshit. No matter how many arguments you have, you keep going, you keep making it work.
What happens when it’s not working anymore?
What happens when all you’ve got is a crappily patched up marriage, with cracks beginning to show and there’s no love left?
I look up from my book and see my husband cooking. If you can even call it that. He was making his signature dish of beans on toast and he was burning it.
I watch him as he moves about the kitchen slowly whilst humming some annoyingly repetitive tune. I can’t bring myself to say anything though, it’d only result in another argument. I can’t face another one of those.
It’s cold in this kitchen, I pull my cardigan tightly over my shoulders, but I don’t think extra layers of clothing is going to protect me from the cold that is between us, heightened by the silence within the room. This room was once the heart of the home, full of warmth, happiness and the smell of freshly baked bread. Now loss and sadness thickens the air, settling around us like a heavy cloth that can’t be lifted.
I remember the romance, the happiness, the first summer we spent together. We’d met in the quaint little bar near the beach. It began the same way your usual cheesy romance story does.
It was a summer of passion, and laughing.
Lots of uncontrollable laughter.
I remember how he’d brought me flowers. Roses. He thought they were my favourite, I didn’t have the heart to tell him they weren’t.
When he brought me them with a huge grin on his face I couldn’t but make them my new favourite thing, second only to his smile. I loved that obnoxiously happy smile. It made me feel safe, comforted and loved.
I miss that smile.
“I’m going up to bed, you coming?”
He asks interrupting my pretend reading and my sentimental thoughts. He stands in front of me, waiting for an answer, even though he already knows what I’m going to say.
“I’m going to finish my book, I’ll be up later”
He nods almost hesitantly and smiles sadly as he turns to leave the room.
I’ll spend the night in the spare room. The same way I have done for the past three months.
Still we continue this charade as if clinging on to our marriage with some kind of desperate hope. I almost want to reach out to him sometimes, but I don’t, I can’t. It’s too late for us.
It was our anniversary, that’s when it happened.
That’s when our marriage died and the love was completely extinguished.
We had made reservations at the local family run Italian restaurant that we both adored, but he was late home from work. When he eventually rolled in an hour late, he was tired. He’d forgotten. Five years of marriage and he’d forgotten.
We argued for hours.
I was fed up of being second best. He was fed up of my nagging. We screamed back and forth calling each other every obscenity we knew. Bitch, dick, arsehole, slut, shit…
You get the picture.
I’m still surprised the neighbours never complained.
That’s the night I realised. There was no love left in this marriage. All that remained was exhaustion and resentment. It was just a certificate now, a legal bond that only existed through signatures on paper.
It still hurts my heart to remember this.
Six months later, as I reflect on what our marriage has turned into, I sit in my lawyer’s office, preparing to finally close another chapter of my life. All I have to do is sign the papers, it sounds so simple.
But as I sit in that dreary office I cry. I cry for the love that once was and has now been well and truly lost. I cry for the marriage that turned toxic.I cry for the marriage vows which are now null and void.
I eventually bring myself to sign the papers. The ink stains the paper with my signature, leaving a smudged scar. A permanent reminder of what had been.
God, I need a fucking drink.
I head to the closest bar and walk straight up to the counter.
“Vodka and Coke please, no actually make it a double”
I ask the bartender who is giving me a funny look with one eyebrow raised, almost judgemental. I am drinking at one in the afternoon. Before I know it, hours have passed, nine to be exact.
Now the bar is crowded, people are huddled around the bar talking loudly to hear each other over the music. A guy has taken the seat next to me, I’ve only just noticed him so he must of just arrived.
He’s not bad to look at either.
I smile at him, offering an unspoken invitation to join me. He wordlessly accepts and moves closer whilst also signalling to the barman for another round of drinks.
That could be a very bad idea.
It’s twelve am, we’ve been talking and laughing for the past few hours. Mostly laughing at his crappy attempts at pick up lines, and his cheesy jokes. Him being the gentleman that he is, he walks me home and leaves after only giving me a goodnight peck and his number.
I wake up the next morning alone.
Left with nothing but a sore head and the memories of last night. I reach for my phone and scroll through my contacts, searching for the guy’s number.
But it wasn’t there.
There was nothing but a missed call from my ex-husband. I quickly pop on some sweats and run to the bar to check for any more information on the mystery guy. When I approach the bar I realise why there had been no number in my phone.
It wasn’t the same bar I met my ex-husband in and there had been no new, charming guy.
There had just been lots of vodka, nostalgia and delusions.