Short Story Saturday: Starting Over

Photo property of Megan Stewart

Photo property of Megan Stewart

It’s days like today that make me thankful that I made the decision to get out.

There’s only so many lies and broken promises that I can put up with. Just like every budding relationship, you’re blinded to who the person may be behind closed doors. It’s that honeymoon stage that gets you. your mind is clouded, your stomach filled wight he proverbial butterflies.

But you don’t really get to know who someone is until those tough situations present themselves. It also helps when your fiends and family tell you their opinions instead of keeping their mouths shut as to not ruin your supposed happiness.

He was one of those guys that was perfect boyfriend material if you didn’t look too far below the surface. There wasn’t much else there, and that’s something I should have figured out sooner.

That first slap, that first shake should’ve been my first clue. But when you’re young and in love, you feel that you can change them, that it’s your responsibility to change them. But nobody tells you that it just isn’t possible.

Feeling weak and pathetic isn’t something I ever wanted. I had plans for my life, dreams I wanted to achieve, and all it wool was one harsh shake and those dreams were shattered.

* * *

I open the front door of our house, excitement radiating off me in waves. I can’t wait to show him the newest edition to our family that rests peacefully in my arms.

“Hey, babe. are you home?” I yell into the foyer. I hear scuffles from upstairs and make my way to our bedroom. “I have a surprise for you!”

Opening the bedroom door, I’m surprised to see that he’s only now getting dressed for the day.

“It’s already the afternoon, babe. Didn’t you have an appointment earlier?” He doesn’t look at me as he grabs a shirt from the closet and pulls it over his head.

“Yeah, but I cancelled. I needed to get some more rest after this nasty cold. I wasn’t feeling to well earlier.”

These were the kind of responses that I kept getting for the past few weeks. He continues to grow more and more distant with each passing day.

“Will you at least look at me?” I ask him as he still doesn’t turn around from his position in front of the closet.

He turns around briefly, sees the ball of fur in my arms, and I can see his expression turn from emotionless to angry.

“Why the hell did you get a dog? Didn’t I tell you we couldn’t afford it?” His attention was completely on me now.

“I know, I know. But I got a job! When I was at the shelter today, I was asked if I’d be willing to work part time. So now it shouldn’t be a problem.” There’s only so much I can say to defend myself.

“Oh, so it’s OK to get one now, but when i asked you months ago, it wasn’t a possibility.” He ran a hand through his hair before continuing. “Won’t this great new job get in the way of your training schedule? Tryouts for the pro volleyball team are less than a month away.” His face is red by the time he stops talking.

“The shelter is right by the gym.” I say as I take a few steps back toward the door. “I can take a shift on my breaks. I’m allowed to take him with me to the gym and work, so you won’t even have to look after him.”

“I didn’t sign up for this. Either you return the dog or take a better paying job and forget about the tryouts. I’m sick of carrying you financially. Besides, you don’t have enough focus for something else in your life.” His words cut like a knife.

“You know what? I’m going to take him for a walk. Let me know when you’ve calmed down and we can talk about this like adults.” I turn and leave the room, heading for the stairs. He catches up with me on the landing and roughly grabs my arm.

“Don’t leave when I’m talking to you!” he yells as his fingers dig into my arm.

“Let go! You’re hurting me.” I try to shake my arm loose. The puppy squirms in my arms and yips with discomfort. Worried for him, I pull harder, and at that moment, he releases my arm. I lose my balance and fall back. I reach out with one hand for the railing, but my fingers slip before they can grab hold. I look up into the eyes of the man I thought I loved and loved me, and I see him just standing there, arms crossed with a smirk on his lips.

He’s not going to help me.

I wrap my arms securely around the puppy and brace myself for the fall. My world fades to black as my head hits the tile floor below.

* * *

If that wasn’t a wakeup call, I don’t think I ever would have gotten one.

I packed up everything I owned as soon as I was released from the hospital. I left everything that reminded me of that man behind and moved closer to my friends and family. It’s taken a while, and though I may that healed physically, I still have a long ways to go before I’m healed mentally.

But I feel that as long as I can sit here on the beach with the sand beneath my feet and my pup curled into my side, I’ll be ok.

I’ll just let my emotions go out with the tide.

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