(continued from here.)
The house is quiet when I get home. No alternative rock plays from the kitchen. No metal utensils on pans. No aroma of something delicious.
Ed’s pickup wasn’t in the drive, but he had said something about needing to get the tires rotated so I figured he’d left it there. Maybe he is even still there.
But there’s something else. No extra shoes near the door. As I move further into the house, I realize his stuff is missing. The little bits of Ed around the house look as if they have simply vanished. I check the hall closet. His jackets, boots, and hats are gone. I run upstairs to the bedroom. It’s as if he was never here. As if I had made him up.
His toiletries are gone from the bathroom. His clothes gone from the dresser, the empty drawers echoing hollowly as I thrust them shut. Nausea ripples through me. He left me. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around this. We were doing so well. I thought we were happy. Maybe it was only me. Maybe I was the only one who was happy, but he texted me at lunch. How long would it have taken him to remove his presence from this house?
The worst thought comes to mind. My stepsister, Chrissy, probably told him she wanted him. For her he would disappear.
I drag myself downstairs, feeling like gravity has me in its clutches. In the kitchen an envelope rests against the sugar canister. Across the plain white front “Becca” is printed in his neat handwriting. I fight the urge to toss it onto the table, ignore it, but it’s burning in my hand.
“Chrissy needs me. She’s never been as strong as you. Forgive me.” No hidden meanings. It’s all right there in black and white, the reason why he never wanted to marry me. He has always hoped she would need him.
I pull out a chair and sit, allow myself to feel numb because it all feels too surreal. I remember this morning, being in his arms, feeling his heat against and in me. So easily it begins to become a dream. The ticking of the clock echoes against the seafoam green walls. Each tick sounds like: he’s gone.