may 9th, 2017 
paradise island, bahamas & boston, massachusetts
It’s eleven o’clock in the morning and you’ve hardly slept in the past twenty-four hours. Instead, you’re alone sitting on the floor in the living room a large Bahamian suite, drunk on overpriced mini bar booze. You’ve been replaying the whole fight over and over in your head since he walked out the door.

“If you're going to go, just leave. Please. The more you talk, the more it hurts.”

He just told you he’s divorcing you, that you’re not number ten, that it isn’t your fault. Thing is, you still feel sick to your stomach when he says it. So you basically beg him to go, because you can actually feel your heart breaking and it isn’t a feeling that you particularly care for. And he apologizes, like he always does; for hurting you, for being an asshole, for everything under the sun. All this time, you’ve been patient, understanding, calm, and all at once, you snap. Instead of accepting it or just walking away, you call him out, loudly, because you’re fucking hurt. He lists off all the reasons it can’t work and you yell at him for those, too, because it’s the only thing that’s keeping you from breaking out into tears right then.

When he asks you why you can’t just be happy about being able to wash your hands of him, things change. There’s a feeling like someone twisting a knife in your stomach and dumbfounded, all you can do is ask if he really expects that after all of this.

He looks you dead in the eye then. “Can’t you see that I’m doing this because I… well, because.”

“Well, what?” You bark back at him, but there’s an almost pleading tone in your voice, because you just want this to be over.

And then he says it. “Because I love you, okay?”

You can still hear his voice saying those three little words. Screaming them. They seem so inconsequential, but the weight they carry is monumental. They're still ringing inside of your ears. It’s just three words, but it’s the first time he's said them, and you weren’t sure if you ever expected to hear them at all.

You tried to say it. You wanted to say it. You should have been able to say it. Hell, the words were on the tip of your tongue, but they just… didn’t come out. In that moment, you can’t say it, not with the way your feelings are spiraling, not with how upset you are. Even though you know how you feel. Instead you try to tell him that people don’t just stick it out despite the obstacles you’ve been through together, because that has to show him something.

When he says you don’t have a good reason, you ask what he means; a good reason to stay or a good reason to love him. It’s as close as you manage to come, because now you’re scared. And when he asks about it, asks if you love him, you try and talk yourself out of it. You’re not totally sure why you did it, why you tried to say you weren’t sure, why all you could say was fucking maybe. It’s bullshit. You know what you should have said, but it’s too late. Even so, you ask him to stay, but you don’t blame him when he declines. If you were him, you’d leave, too.

He says he’s going home, that he has a lot to think about… But there was something about the tone of his voice when he says he’ll see you later that tells you that you won’t.

And you start crying as soon as the door clicks shut behind him.

You’re still crying when you go and apologize to one of your closest friends, for ruining her day, for being an asshole. You have a lot more you feel like you should be apologizing for, because she has the patience of a fucking saint and deserves some sort of trophy. She asks if you’re okay, and you tell her you’re not sure, but only because you don’t want her to worry about you any more than you already know she is. She doesn’t need to worry, she needs to be happy, that’s why they’re all here, right?

That was twelve hours and too many tiny bottles of liquor to count ago. The tears have stopped, if only because your eyes dried out somewhere along the way. But you sniffle and wipe at your swollen, red eyes anyway as you tug your phone out and text your best friend.

Like a fucking champ, she swoops in, with more alcohol and hugs and a shoulder to cry (or dry sob) into. She listens while you prattle on about everything and tells you all the things that you’d expect to hear; not to beat yourself up, that it’s going to be alright. She holds you while you go on about how much you hate yourself for not being able to say it back. You don’t tell her, you don’t actually need to tell her how much it sucks, how you feel sick to your stomach, because you know that she knows. And you don’t talk about how guilty and awful you feel because you know how hard it must’ve been for him to say those words only to be met with uncertainty. Eventually she tells you go to find him, to tell him, because nothing is holding you back. After a little coaxing, you agree.

It’s one o’clock in the afternoon when you finally pick yourself up off the floor. There’s a lump in your throat and your head feels like it’s about to split in half, but you still drag yourself into the bathroom and take a shower, put yourself back together. You chase a handful of ibuprofen with the coffee she’s brought you and shove a bagel into your mouth. It takes fifteen minutes, but you’re starting to feel more human.

Your hair is still wet when you kiss her on the cheek and thank her, leaving your luggage in the room as you hit the button on the teleporter. You’re not sure if you’ll be back or not.

But then you get there, land with a thud (because you’re still not so good with the teleporting thing) in the big open living room of the apartment you share with him, with your husband, it’s pitch black. Every light is turned off, everything was just as you left it just a couple of days before. It suddenly feels like you’ve swallowed rocks, because you were right. He isn’t here. You take a deep breath, and pick yourself up from the floor, turning on lights as you wander through the apartment.

It doesn’t take you long to find the papers, a pile of them. You pick up the ring on top of them and you feel your heart breaking all over again. This was never what you wanted. You turn the ring over in your hand before finally sliding it onto your thumb, then pick up the stack of papers. He was right to get copies, though, because you take them straight to the kitchen and turn on the water and garbage disposal, then shove them in. But you come back a few minutes later, to that one last copy, and you stare at it, sad and hurting and you wonder where he is, if he’ll answer if you call him, if he’s told anyone. You swallow, blinking back the tears you didn’t even realize had started falling again, and pick up the pen.