Eight months ago
Iknow something is wrong before I even get the door unlocked and step inside. It’s a feeling burning deep in my gut that I can’t seem to shake and when I turn on the lights, illuminating the house I’ve shared with my wife for more than five years, I understand why.
Everything is gone. Every single fucking thing. Where our couch had once stood, there’s just the imprint of its legs on the carpet, crumbs and dust that had rolled under there to escape the vacuum. Wires run down the wall where the TV had been mounted when I left this morning. Books, photographs, movies and trinkets. All gone.
What the fuck? With wide eyes and a racing heart, I pull my blade from inside my boot and slowly, quietly walk down the hall to the kitchen. My ears strain for any sound at all, but aside from the thudding of my own boots, the whole place is silent. I flick on the lights and my guts twist. The table my gran had given us is still there, but several drawers and cupboards stand open, their insides empty.
Turning, I dash up the stairs, ignoring the other rooms in the house, worry for my wife urging me on without any concern for my own safety. “Carla!” My shout bounces off the empty walls, echoing around me, but no answer comes.
I crash through the bedroom door so hard it slams off the wall behind it, leaving a doorknob shaped hole in its wake. Carla isn’t here. Nothing is here. No bed. No dresser. Even the fucking lamps are gone. The closet door stands open, and from where I stand, I see that half of it is empty, the only thing still hanging there being my own clothes.
That’s when I know. This house hasn’t been looted or robbed, and my wife is just fucking fine. She’s left me, and cleaned me out in the process without so much as a fucking letter to say why.
I jam my blade back into my holster and dig my phone out of my back pocket. I slam my finger over the screen, pulling up Carla’s number. It doesn’t even ring, but goes straight to voicemail.
“Hi, you’ve reached Carla. You know what to do.”
I grip the phone in my hand so hard it cuts into my skin. “Are you fucking kidding me, Carla? You’ve left me nothing! Fucking nothing!” I slam my fist into the wall, adding yet another hole to match the one I’d made with the doorknob. “What happened to forever? I’ve been good to you. Treated you right. Never fucked around. And this is how you wanna play it?” I sigh. “Go fuck yourself, Carla.”
After hanging up, I shove the phone back in my pocket and make my way back downstairs in a daze. I’d met Carla when we just juniors in high school. She’d moved to town that summer and hadn’t made any friends yet. She was so fucking beautiful. Blonde curly hair, blue eyes I could easily get lost in, and the biggest tits I had ever seen in person. I’d invited her to sit with me and the guys during lunch that very first day and we’d been together ever since.
Back in the kitchen, I fish a beer out of the fridge and twist off the cap. Turning, I rest against the door and tip the bottle back, downing the cold liquid so fast it burns at my throat and fills my belly with heat.
That’s when I see it. In the center of my Gran’s kitchen table, is a piece of paper. And on top of that, are Carla’s engagement and wedding rings. I’d bought the pair together from a jewelry store in the mall six years ago. I’d worked my ass off to pay for them.
I’ll never forget how fucking nervous I was when I’d finally decided to ask her to marry me. My friend, Nutsy, had thought I was insane. “Why marry the bitch if she’s already lettin’ ya bang her?” Yeah … Nutsy has always been a real ladies man.
We’d been twenty-two years old back then, with the whole goddamn world ours for the taking. I’d been apprenticing as a carpenter and prospecting for the Satan’s Descendants and Carla had been working double shifts at one of the diners in town. We didn’t have much at the time, but fuck me, we’d loved each other.
I’d taken her to the mall that day, which just so happened to be one of her favorite places on earth. I’d spent hours on a bench outside of different stores while she went inside and tried on outfit after outfit, spending more money than either of us could afford.
I’d carefully chosen the entrance I had parked near so that on the way out, we had to pass by one specific photo booth. It was there I’d popped that life changing question.
Carla had sat on my lap and both of us had laughed as we moved around, trying to get our faces in the perfect position. The first photo had been of us making silly faces, our tongues stuck out and our eyes crossed. In the second photo, she’s making yet another silly face, and I am opening the ring box. In the third, she’s noticed the ring and I am looking at her with a strange combination of fear and hope on my face. In the fourth, our lips are mashed together, our smiles huge and my ringer placed on her finger.
It was simple, but the four tiny photos of our engagement in progress has always been one of my most prized possessions. Until now. I snatch the handwritten note off the table and stalk into the living room. Sure enough, the only photo frame left on the wall is that one. The one where she had agreed to be mine forever, and I’d felt like the luckiest man on the planet.
I take another stinging chug from my beer and lift the letter, not sure I even want to read what she’d said. But I need to know. I need to know why the only woman I’ve ever loved would just clean me out in a single day and throw away everything we’ve built together.
I’m sorry. I’m in love with someone else.
I blink down at the letter. I read it seven different times. It never changes. That’s it? She’s sorry? She’s in love with someone else?
A roar tears from my throat as I chuck the nearly empty bottle of beer across the room, barely noticing as it shatters, sending amber shards and foamy liquid across the room and running down the wall.
“Bitch!” I scream, yanking the framed photo off the wall and slamming it over my knee.
Even that doesn’t make me feel better though. I slide to the floor, my knees cocked and my head in my hands. How did I not see this coming? I thought me and Carla were okay. I thought we were in love.
I jam my fingers through my hair and coil them into tight fists. Love. Love is bullshit. Marriage is bullshit. If this night has taught me one thing, it’s that I am not ever going to allow myself to fall into that trap ever again.