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Two years ago my wife disappeared. No note, no lead-up. I headed off to work in the morning, leaving her cozy and warm in our bed and came back to nothing. The cops had one suspect, me. When that theory didn’t pan out they moved on to the next best thing for their caseload. She’d run away with her lover. I knew better though. I knew there was no way the woman who’d vowed to spend her life with me, who’d only just told me she couldn’t wait to have our first child, could ever just walk away.
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What the hell am I doing here? The fuck was I thinking? You really stepped in it this time Cade. You knew from the get that this shit was a no-go. So why? How? I shook my head as if coming out of a stupor.
That’s exactly how I felt. Like I’d been half asleep at the wheel these past few months when I allowed myself to be guilted into this bullshit. Now I felt a new kind of guilt.
I had the dream again last night. The one where she was calling out for me but I couldn’t find her in the dark. My woman, my heart, my soul.
It’s been a while since she came to me in my sleep. Too long since I woke up in a cold sweat with the taste of her still on my tongue and her scent playing with my senses.
Even though the dreams left me feeling empty, they were all I had so I welcome them each time they come. They’d evaded me for some time now, until last night. I don’t have to wonder too hard as to why that should be.
I looked at the woman sitting across from me now, not even a viable substitute. No one is, and now I’m beginning to think no one ever will be. That’s a damn lie, I always knew that shit.
For too long I’ve been willing myself to feel something, anything, even if it was just a flicker of interest. Anything to tell me that I’m not dead, that I’m still among the living.
But even now as I look at her all I feel is a deep emptiness. That shroud of darkness still enveloped me after all this time. Like a black void that I had crawled into and couldn’t find my way back from.
Even when I’d finally given in, I knew that this is how it would be. Knew that there would be nothing there for her or anyone else. And I know that it would be the same today, tomorrow, and fifty years from now.
She isn’t a bad looking woman, and I’m sure there’s any number of men in this city who’d give their right arm to be by her side. But I’m not one of them. I’m never going to be. So why the fuck…
I know why. I was testing myself no doubt. Trying to prove something to me and to everyone else. But the shit backfired spectacularly. I’d only proved what I’ve known deep down all along. This shit isn’t gonna work.
It was bound to fail from the beginning and no amount of pleading on her part or my mother’s is going to change that. The heart wants what it wants and mine had made up its mind a long time ago.
I knew it. But I guess I was having an ignorance day or some fuck when I said yes to this shit. Now I’m stuck in this bullshit situation and I have no one else to blame but myself.
I feel like shit because I’m about to hurt someone that though I don’t love, has been a dear friend. Someone who came out of the shadows in my darkest hour to offer comfort when I thought there was none.
She smiled across the dinner table at me as we both pretended to pick at our food and I could see the tension in her, the questions in her eyes. I felt almost angry with her for forcing us to this point. I’d wanted to avoid this; I knew it was inevitable.
I knew even when I was agreeing that this would be the end result. How could there be any other? My heart isn’t mine to give. And it doesn’t matter that the owner has been gone for so long now that I’m almost beginning to forget what she looked like.
That fuck refuses to beat for anyone else but her. Not that I want it to. I’d give my last breath to have her back by my side, but… I cut my thoughts off right there.
I never think about my woman when I’m in this one’s presence; talk about guilt. But the guilt isn’t about her, but about my woman. I always feel like I’m cheating when I’m near the woman I’d foolishly agreed to marry.
That’s why I should never have let things get this far. It was my own indifference. I’d been so lost in my head for so long that I’d all but given up after years of waiting, hoping.
Mindy is one of the people who’d been there to hold me up just when I wanted to give up. She’s been such a good friend, giving so selflessly of her time, that’s why I find it hard to do to her what I know I would if we take one more step down this path.