Flash Friday Fiction
My heart broke shortly before 6 on that last day I saw you. I remember the time, because the clock in the kitchen had always run 8 minutes fast, and the long hand had clicked directly upward as I picked up the ringing phone. We hadn't ever bothered to set the clock to the right time, we just lived in our own timezone without question - besides, you said it helped you make it to the station for the citybound 8:14 each morning. Of course, it had occured to me before then that all of the delusions casting shadows over our relationship served you greatly in some way, and like the clock I had chosen to ignore them.
Don't misunderstand me, we had a problems like anyone. We'd fight, yell, slam doors, sleep apart and at the worst of times, ignore each other entirely. But there was the making up, and the safety of knowing each other so completely, and there was always the love. When we met I was just 21 and terrified of the world. You were a little older, nearly 25, and you seemed wiser than I - at least I hoped it was the case. I wasn't even sure I liked you at first. After our first meeting at a party late in summer I remember telling my sister about this guy who was gorgeous, but arrogant and overly impressed with himself. Looking back I wonder how much of my initial instincts were right, given the side of you that came to light later.
When we kept running into each other after that party I took it as a sign that I should give you a chance. Had I known that you'd coerced all that information about me from my friends I doubt we'd have had even one date at all. Although... a girl does like to feel special, and you'd gone to so much effort. I suppose that you would have gotten your way no matter what, as usual. Even now I feel powerless against you, remembering the sound of your voice convincing me that I was wonderful, and that you would always treat me as such. It was the first time I had chosen to listen to the beautiful lies and let the delusions begin.
As it turned out, there were alot of wonderful girls out there needing your attention. There was always flirting, from the time out relationship was only a few months old and for the most part I chose to ignore it. I didn't want to be one of those needy women who can't stand a glance in the wrong direction... well, truth be told I suppose I was just too scared to call you on it. I was enchanted by the confidence I had earlier taken as arrogance, and you did tell me often enough that you loved me. Eventually we fell into a pattern where you would do as you liked and I would let you, having convinced myself that I was indeed a strong, independent woman who didn't feel threatened by the number of very attractive women in your life. It became painfully obvious to me 3 years in that you were having an affair... or affairs. I didn't ask.
There were the whispered phone calls you'd get, as you glanced furtively over your shoulder at me and I'm sure that once I even heard you hiss that you weren't really 'free to talk right now'. How cliche. I was disgusted with myself for sticking around, and for loving you anyway - but not disgusted enough to leave. I was in denial, figuring that if you hadn't left me by that point that you must still love me too and that you couldn't have any real feelings for the xxx women on the other end of the phone. I spent my time alternating between a quiet gloating over the belief that all of your love was reserved for me, and living in fear of a conversation with you that would put an end to it all. "It's over", you would say, or "I've met someone". The worst of all would be "You deserve more than I can give", and I knew for sure it would be just like you to say that. Towards the end we barely spoke at all - I would not give you the opportunity to use any of those lines.
The phone call that ended our relationship did not have any of those cliches, and did not come from you. It was from the hospital, there had been an accident and they were very sorry to have to tell me over the phone. They had done everything they could. You had not made it.
My heart broke that evening, not out of despair or grief, but shame over my own weakness. You were gone and I was relieved.