By the Red Chair

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“The fabric on that chair is red and blotchy,” I say.

She ignores me of course. She’s ignored me since I first kneeled down here at her feet I don’t know how long ago. It’s been a while I’m certain of that much. It feels like hours, maybe longer. The whole time she’s has cried. It always kills me, anytime she cries. The first time, I remember it, we had just strolled through a park. We were driving away from the park, in her car, she was driving and she was telling me about her daughter. Apparently the relationship is rocky, problematic. She thinks I don’t see her tears or the way she looks away from me but I do; I always do.

And now she’s crying and I can’t do anything to stop her tears. I’ve tried asking her, tried touching her, hugging her, but she’s treating me like she can neither see nor hear me.

She cries and cries and I feel guilty.

Did I do something here?

“Baby, why are you crying?” I ask.

She says nothing but whines louder.

So she CAN hear me right? I mean I haven’t ceased to exist have I?

“Baby! What can I do?” I nearly shout.

Again she cries louder and stronger, drowning out my pleas.

I’ve lost my glasses and can barely see but the wall behind the chair seems to be dotted with some flecks of something. Then I see them, sitting on the table beside the red chair. I reach for them but my depth perception is nothing and I can’t seem to grab them. I would get off my knees, off the floor her in front of her but I don’t want to disturb her again. When I tried to stand up earlier she had really started crying, screaming almost, and it ripped my heart out.

Then I see the gun – a glock 9mm. My gun.

Laying on top of the table near my glasses.

Dread fills my heart.

I’ve felt suicidal for so long and my biggest fear has always been this. That I would be trapped for an eternity in these minutes. When she sees the irrefutable proof of my cowardice, my weakness. That I would live in these minutes; unable to move away, unable to intercede anymore.

Here I kneel. For how long must I stay in this awful hell? If I stand to go she will cry louder and I will suffer. If I do go, I will never see her again and I will suffer. This is my hell. I created it; it is mine. She cannot move on until I do I think. I loathe this weakness, this indecisiveness. I’m a ghost in hell.

There would be no more phone calls (during the 2020 pandemic, that was pretty much all we had).

There would be no more massages.

No more dancing in the kitchen while we cooked.

No more laughter, no walks in the rain, no holding her in my arms while we slept the night away.

There would only be crying until I find the strength to say good bye forever because I never had the strength to find a way to in life.

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