The doorbell rings.. once..then twice. And then nothing. It always does when he’s been waiting outside for more than 5 minutes.
Take a deep breath. You can do it, you tell yourself. Breathe . You clutch your old back-pack and open the door before he has time to open his bag and take his phone out.
“There you are! I was about to call you. We seriously need to make a duplicate for that key now. It’s been 4 months since we moved in.”
He comes in, drops his bag on the floor and grabs you. A tight hug. You need a tight hug. But you don’t give into it.
Instead, you say, “That won’t be necessary. I have to go.”
“Oh! Where you off to?”
He looks at you with little curiosity in his eyes. “Hmm, well let me drop you.”
“That’s fine….” Just let me go, you think to yourself.
“C’mon Sandy, I just got home, I’ve been looking forward to some ‘us’ time. I know you have somewhere you need to be but at least if I take you there we can spend a bit of time together.”
Doesn’t he notice the back-pack? He never notices…You don’t have the heart to say anything so you nod your head in agreement. Maybe you can say more in the car.
He strips himself naked, washes his face, swings the cupboard’s doors open.
Did he see?
He grabs a T-shirt, shorts, skips the underwear, doesn’t skip the flip-flops, keys…out the door, you follow.
He didn’t see.
In the car now. How do you bring this up? You can do it.
His hand is on you thigh, a loving look in his eyes, that beautiful smile on his mouth.
“Jones’ Street is pretty far.”
“You don’t have to take me.”
‘Too late!” He laughs. “I told you, I want to.” He takes your hand, squeezes it. You try not squeeze back. You can’t validate how he’s feeling, you have something to say. You squeeze it back. Maybe this can wait. You’re going to go anyway.
He starts to talk, you start to talk.It’s half an hour into the car ride and the two of you are laughing.
“So Jane walks through the door, right after me and she slips.”
“Why didn’t you warn her?” You know the answer to this but you ask again, rhetorically, just because. Just because his eyes glow with a childish naughty look that always amused you.
“Because, because, because. Hey!” He looks up at a neon sign. “Shisha? It’s been a while, and I’m kinda hungry too. You hungry?”
He rubs your stomach lightly, kisses you on the head and parks the car. “Unless you’re in a hurry…”
You laugh, and mimic him. “Too late!”
Seriousness kicks in a millisecond later, your head’s in a knot. Maybe you can tell him now, in the restaurant.
Nothing comes out, except for this, “Did you see the cupboard?”
“What do you mean?” Puffs of smoke rise from in between his lips. The food arrives. He’s digging in, and he repeats the question.
“Nah, nothing.” Nothing? Really?! Didn’t notice your back-pack, didn’t notice the cupboard…typical.
Another half hour passes, and now you’re losing track of time. Well time’s not an issue. He needs to know. Dinner eaten, shisha smoked and inspite of the fact that he tends to be oblivious you’ve had a lovely time. You always do. The two of you always do.
You’re back in the car.
“Oh crap! It’s 10. I”m sorry! You must be getting late!”
“It’s fine.” The keys are in your hands. You can go to Jones’ any time you want to. “Let’s go back home..to your place…I mean…”
His hand is in your hand.
“Our place, you mean.”
You say nothing. Maybe today is not the day?
“What’s with the back-pack?” He finally notices.
You stay quite.
Your eyes sting.
“Huh? Umm..” You briefly look at him and then look back down.
He sees it..your eyes well up. You see the tension on his face, his beautiful face. You feel the tension in the space you share, your beautiful space.
” What’s in the back-pack?”
You look at him. A tear rolls down. You stutter.
“I’m…I … I’m leaving you…I’m leaving us.”