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The Long Way Home

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The need to see her it was almost masochistic. He couldn’t close his eyes the entire night and the dark circles surrounding his eyes proved exactly that. He thought about her all night and every time he imagined her so broken and lonely in the house that just became their home, he wished he would vanish from his life. Maybe it would have been better for her if she never would have met him, if she would never have fallen in love with him and instead she would have fallen in love with a decent man from her world, a bright lawyer, dressed in an Armani suit, who listens to Bach and reads Tolstoy and Proust and of course, is a democrat, like she is. Not an unpolished cowboy, who only reads ballistic books, wears jeans and boots and didn’t even owns a tuxedo, who was a republican, but most importantly who was a cheater. He was what he was but she saw past all that, she saw beyond these superficial aspects of him, of his life, she saw him, him, as a human being, as a man, undefined by his political views, his social class, his love for guns. No one before made him feel so special and still he had to be the biggest jerk in the world. He wondered where this tendency of self-destruction came from, if he only could have spoken to her, told her what’s going on with him. It didn’t hurt so much the thought that he destroyed his life, it hurt more the thought that he made her suffer.
He was finding himself in front of her door again, like he did the day before, trying to find the courage to press the doorbell. After a few minutes, in which he tried to regulate his breathing, he pressed it and then waited. After some time, maybe a minute, the door opened but she didn’t showed up. She only opened the door for him, not bothering to say hi or even look in his direction. He walked in with slow and heavy steps, as if he carried the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. He closed the door behind him, turned around and stopped. His eyes remained caught up in hers, he never saw that look in her eyes before, it was the gaze of a profoundly wounded woman and he realized that his stupid behavior irreversibly changed something in her, he took away a part of her and he felt like the biggest fool in the world. That woman, that amazing, beautiful woman that was standing in front of him and that have been his and his alone lost a part of her that she will maybe never going to recover. For a few seconds, neither of them talked, they didn’t even knew what else was there to tell each other, they were both hurt and they felt as if they were reunited at a loved one’s funeral. In a way, it was true, it was the day that they were burying all of their dreams, all of their hopes, all the faith. It was the day that maybe they were burying their marriage, their life together and possible their love.
Finally, Diane broken the silence in the room.
"So, you know where your clothes are. Some of them are at the cleaners, I will send them to you when they will arrive."
"Diane…I am sorry", he said automatically, like a machine, like that was the only sentence he knew.
Diane looked into his eyes again and he saw there all the rage that lived inside her, threatening to come out any minute, and destroy everything in its way, like the lava from a volcano.
"Stop telling me you are sorry. Your sorry doesn’t mean anything to me, Kurt, it doesn’t change anything. It is what it is and we have to put an end to this, to this pain, each in his own way and in his own direction", her tone was calmer now, much calmer that he would have thought. Kurt looked to the ground, his head fell between his shoulders and he walked to the stairs resigned. Diane’s gaze followed him walk away and then she turned around. It was so hard to know that he is so close, right beside her, in their home and not being able to touch him, hold him, love him, because what he did and her anger and her wounds prevented that.
She walked in the kitchen again, talking her cup of coffee and resumed her activity, of watching blankly out the window. She was trying to forget that he was there, in the house in which they’ve spent so many nights together, in her room, that later became their room. No, she couldn’t just forgive him for what he did to her, she couldn’t just take him back. She needed a lot of time away from him, from all their drama, from all the pain that his simple presence caused her.
That was the moment that she clearly knew, she knew that it was over, there was no turning back. All the roads and the bridges have been burned and if he would ever want to come back to her, he would have to find a new road, the ones that existed were forever closed. The tears flooded her eyes and a lump chocked her throat, in a way that she couldn’t even swallow anymore. She will have to talk with David, to ask him to start the divorce proceedings as soon as possible, she didn’t want to have the chance to rethink this and change her mind. Three years…that’s it, that’s how long her marriage lasted, the most passionate, full of love, wonderful years of her life that would end in the biggest deception she ever lived and the most devastating pain she ever felt. She will always love him, there was no doubt about that, but she couldn’t go back, she already taken the decision, she wouldn’t be the woman she never thought she could ever be, she will not betray all of her principles and become one of those women who were constantly cheated by their husbands, of those women who are looking in the other direction, pretending not to know, not to see, just because they are too afraid to lose their men. She was Diane Lockhart after all, a strong, independent woman, a liberal and an avid feminist and a woman that was broken in half, she added bitterly.
She heard his steps on the stairs, but she turned around when he was already near her, so close that she could feel his cologne, and she could feel his body heat, the body that she could once touch without any restrictions.
She looked in his eyes, but he dropped his look to the floor and started talking, shaking his head.
"Diane, tell me what can I do, I would do anything, anything you will ask me"…she hadn’t heard the rest. Everything that was happening, him standing in front of her, him talking and shaking his head, the way the tears gleamed in his eyes, his hands shaking a little while he spoke, she saw everything in slow motion, like in a stupid, cheesy love scene from a movie. She watched him talk for a few moments more, the tears were starting to roll down her face, knowing that maybe this was the last time they would be face to face as husband and wife. Unexpectedly, she put her trembling hands on both of his cheeks, pulled his face to hers and kissed him hard, crushing his lips and feeling his taste for one more time. That kiss contained all her pain and her grief and all the resignation.
His eyes widened in surprise and shock, this being the last thing that he thought she will do. He never thought that he would feel her lips over his like that, feel her smell, her taste, her breath washing his face. He closed his eyes and he caught her in his arms, strongly, desperately, painfully, like there would be nothing after this kiss will end, like the world would come to an end after she will let him go. They kissed for a few moments, holding on to each other, hot torrents of grief coursing both their faces. Then she withdrawn her lips and her body from him, just as sudden and fast as she initiated this, but his hands were still tight around her waist, as if he knew what was to come, as if he refused to let her go, for fear that he will never touch her again.
In her eyes, he could read two things, resignation and determination and the mix of these two feelings send him chills down his spine. And all of the sudden everything was clear for him, like someone has lifted a vail over his eyes, this was it, it was over, she was saying goodbye, this was the last kiss, the farewell kiss.
"Diane, no, please, don’t do this. Give me another chance, just one." He was shaking his head from one side to another, as if this continue negation would help make this unreal, would help change her mind, would help stop what was about to happen, would erase everything he’s done.
"Diane, please, I love you." He fell on his knees in front of her and his desperate hands surrounded her, her body, her legs, as if by this hug he could root them there forever.
She remained still, while silent and calm tears were staining her face, her gaze had a neutral particularity now, she was looking far away to that window kitchen, like she was trying to project herself somewhere else, in a happier moment of their lives. She felt like everything inside her was frozen, as if the resignation had put a layer of ice over her feelings.
"Kurt, I am sorry, but I can’t…I can’t go on with this, with us. All my trust in you is gone and a marriage without trust…Some part of me will probably always love you. I am sorry, but I can’t." She was ending their relationship with the same words it started almost 7 years ago. "In the following days, David Lee will contact you to start the divorce proceedings".
"Diane, no, please, I am begging you", he was now desperate. He stood on his feet again, and grabbed her arms, forcing her to look him in the eyes.
"Kurt, please, don’t make this harder than already is", she said as a sob escaped her lips, her voice breaking when she pronounced his name. "How can you even begin to imagine that there can still be an us, a marriage, how would that go? I would go insane thinking that you are with another woman all the time, every time you come late at home, every time you would go out of town…I can’t, I am sorry, I can’t relive this over and over. I can’t be around you, Kurt, is too painful."
At last, Kurt’s hands had fallen helplessly, lifelessly alongside his body. He suddenly looked older, the pain he was feeling transforming his face features. He looked again in her eyes, embraced her one more time, a short and strong embrace. She wasn’t his anymore, she didn’t belong to him, maybe she never did. He made this terrible stupid choice and this was the price he had to pay. He destroyed the more precious, beautiful thing he ever had in his little, shallow life. He put his hands in his pockets and slowly turned around, starting to walk towards the door, his walk as tired and old as he felt. All of the sudden he stopped in his track, and just as slowly she faced her again, walking towards her now. He took her hand, reluctant at the beginning, but then more and more resolved. From his pocket removed her wedding ring, the one she angrily throw at him the day before. Her wedding ring, the symbol of their endless love, the symbol of their vows, now broken by him. He wanted to put the ring back on her hand, on the finger that it belonged, the way he did when they married. If three years ago, with this ring, they were beginning their lives as husband and wife, they were starting a new life, hoping that would be a wonderful life, full of love, now with same ring, they were saying goodbye. She initially pulled her hand, the mere gesture, the memory of that moment, of the happiness she felt bubbling inside her that day being too distressing. She finally gave in, letting him take her hand, feeling the force and determination with which he held her hand.
"Diane, please, please don’t divorce me. I completely understand that you don’t want to see me, that you don’t want me near you anymore, but please don’t divorce me, not so soon, give me something I can hold on to, give me some kind of hope, because I can’t…. i can't face this", his voice crackled as his had fallen between his shoulders for a moment. "Don’t close the door completely and irrevocably. I will give you all the time in the world, I will wait for you the rest of my life, if that’s what you need. Please, promise me that you won’t divorce me. I love you and i know that i have no right asking you this but please, at least tell me you will think about it."
She nodded slowly, loving him and hating him in the same time for destroying everything, but nevertheless, moved by his pain. He looked in her eyes one more time, his look desperately pleading her not to give up on him completely, he bowed and kissed the hand on which he put his ring, turned around and exist the room and her life.
She was standing still, looking in the direction that he left, while hot torrents of grief coursed down her cheeks.
She leaned against the cabinet behind her and slowly lower herself on the ground, holding her knees and crying uncontrollably. She cried for her life, for her love, for her man, all lost now, she cried in advance for the long nights that will follow, for the moments that the longing for him, for his nearness, for his laugh, for his touch will become unbearable, for the moments that she will completely lose her hope and her desire to live without him, for the loneliness that will come. His absence will be like an open wound in her chest, which she will carry with her everywhere she will go.