"I'm leaving," he said.

She knew he was expecting some emotional reaction, but she did not have the one he was looking for. Her face remained neutral. Where was the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach? Where was the pang of fear? She felt like smiling, but after all their years together, she didn't have the heart to hurt him that way. So she stared at him in silence, waiting.

"Aren't you going to say anything?" He sounded peeved, like an annoyed child.

Options churned through her mind. She sighed. He wanted his last fight. He wanted to see her care. He wanted to hurt her. She could not give him any of those things. She chose carefully. "I don't see any point in it."

"Fine," he snapped. His wrist flicked in a blur.

She barely had time to register the shape of a picture frame before it smashed against the wall behind her. Their own smiling faces mocked them from the floor, tuxedo and white lace creased and tattered. She felt suspended in time, as if in a dream where every moment unfolds in crystal precision, sharp as the broken glass around her feet. The flash of his eyes knifing her as he strode past. The whuffing sound of air that washed over her in his wake and its chill touch upon her cheek. The tickle of her hair fluttering against her throat in the last eddies of his passing. The sudden brightness of the door opening onto crisp winter sun and the slam that rode its heels. The sound of his car chugging to life. His life, without her. Hers, without him. The final near-silence of an empty house.

She sat still, listening to the silence whisper to her for a long time. Echoes of the past faded quickly before promises of the future, filling the nothingness within her. Slowly, like dawn creeping upon night, she smiled.

She stood up and walked to the phone. Her hand shook as she dialed and butterflies danced in her stomach as she listened to the tinny ring against her ear.


She suppressed a laugh, but not the smile. "I'm coming," she said.

©Sonja Torres 2004


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