It was nearly 6 o’clock in the morning when I took my first step away from the man I love, and heard him gently close the front gate, as though he were trying to spare me from the sound of it. As though the muffled sound of metal on metal would feel more painful than the goodbye we whispered to each other just moments before.
I held my hands in fists as I fought the aching want to turn and see him, debating with myself if I’d rather remember the image of him standing a distance away, face streaked with the salt from his sad eyes, staring desolately at me and my broken pieces; or if a fleeting image of this man getting into his car and driving away would be easier to keep.
Standing dazed and heavy under the staircase leading up to my bedroom, I listened to the rough sound of his car revving to life. That car always made a racket. I couldn’t sit in that car and talk to him without having to raise my voice over the sound of the engine. I realized at that moment that I had a few seconds to rush out the door, stop him and take it all back. “Stay, please,” I’d say. “Let’s try one more time, please.” But I stood rooted on the spot as the walls shuddered with the sound of his car pulling away.
I turned to the window, saw a flash of orange, and felt the heavy growth of distance between us. My breath caught in my throat and I held on to the stair railing to steady myself. I climbed, weary for rest. Weary for mercy from this terrible ache.
As I came closer to my bedroom, I held on to the sound of his car, growing fainter and fainter by the second. I sat in bed, eyes shut tight to will myself to still listen to the distinct whisper of him driving up the steep hill nearby. I listened, and listened to that damned noisy car, until I heard no more.
I opened my eyes and stared blankly, hunched over and unmoving. The silence was deafening.