She sat at the kitchen table and looked down at her left hand. The wedding band already seemed alien to her, like it didn’t belong.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “But I really do love her.”
He wiped a tear from his eye and she wondered what he had to cry about. It was he who had made the choice. This was all in his hands.
“So what now?” she asked.
“I have a cab waiting for me downstairs,” he said, more to his feet than to her.
“It’s Christmas Eve,” she said.
“I know,” he replied. “Let’s not make this any more painful than it needs to be.”
She felt her eyebrows raise but she remained calm. He flinched as his fingers tightened around the handle of his suitcase. He dipped his head and slipped out of the apartment quietly. The door clicked shut behind him and she was bathed in a heavy silence.
She removed her ring from her finger and dropped it into the champagne flute on the table in front of her. She was reminded of the day that he proposed as she swilled the ring around in her glass. He had dropped it into her glass that day, as they sat in the fancy restaurant. It had been the happiest day of her life.
Without thinking, she pulled the glass back and forcefully launched it at the closed door. It smashed satisfyingly against the wood, glass skittering across the floor. It was over. She smiled a half smile as she rose to her feet and left the room.
“It’s funny,” he said, placing a cup of coffee down in front of me. “I swear that I know you.”
“But, we’ve never met,” I said, still shaking. I tried to lift the cup to my lips but it sloshed and scolded me.
“No,” he said. “That’s right. We’ve never met.”
He had helped me up off the floor after he had made my bike swerve on the icy road. Now he was buying me hot tea and trying to calm me down.
“But I feel like I know you in the future,” he said, staring out of the window. “Like I know you when we are eighty, and we have spent a lifetime together already. Do you get what I mean?”
“No,” I said.
I looked down at my cup on the table in front of me as I stirred in my sugar. I didn’t dare look up because I absolutely understood what he meant. It was the strangest of feelings, but it was undeniable. We were eighty and still sitting here, drinking our tea and laughing over photographs of our grandchildren.
It was a life that I needed to live. It was a life spent with him.
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