She felt the words she hadn’t meant to say drip from her lips like blood. Each one was as heavy as lead and scented like a decaying corpse. He recoiled as if physically repulsed, and she wished she could recoil from herself. She had gone too far and, once spoken, the words could never fully be taken back.
A silence stretched out between them, a gulf of unspoken shock and shame. Her words reverberated within it and she fought the urge to flee. It didn’t matter. He turned and walked away, leaving a stream of obscenities in his wake. She sunk to the floor and sobbed, a void where her heart should be.
Minutes passed like hours, the knot of pain in her stomach intensifying with each one. He was gone and she couldn’t blame him if he never returned. She cried until she felt dehydrated and weak with exhaustion… And still she didn’t rise. She curled into the fetal position and fell asleep on the floor.
The door opened and closed and she felt the resulting breeze kiss her face. She stirred and fluttered her eyelids, while her consciousness rose quickly through the stages of waking. His face, close to hers, was first comforting, then alarming.
“Shit! Dave! How long have you been there?” She was fully awake now, her heart hammering in her chest.
“I left, walked aroumd the city until I cooled off, stopped for a drink and came home. Have you been lying on the floor the whole time?”
Dave, who had been squatting, shifted his weight to the wall and slid to the floor. He looked like a kid, sitting there with his feet outstretched and she was overcome once again by her shame. He met her gaze steadily for a few moments before he spoke, “Dana, why did you say those things to me? You had to know how much they would hurt me.”
“I was so angry,” she sobbed.
“So was I but I didn’t need to decimate you.”
“So, are you done with me?”
“No but we need to talk about it and I need to understand how you could become so angry and hit so low.”
“I actually know that our I wouldn’t be here. Let’s get up off the floor. I brought back some take out. We’ll eat and then we’ll talk though it. I’m not sure if I need to say this but the talking is non-negotiable at this point.”
“Ok. I’ll do my part.”
“I know you will or I wouldn’t have bothered coming back.” Dave rose from the floor and reached out a hand to her. She took it and stood to face him. She would do whatever it took.