This is it. Not one more minute can I even harbor the thought of living in this house with this man! Like anger tossed in misery and splattered with a dash of self-pity he sits on the couch day after day, drowning his sorrows in alcohol.
It’s been 7 months since the miscarriage and although I will never forget the incredible pain we both endured, I was eventually able to move past it. But not Ben- he took it so hard. I’ve spent the last year doing everything in my power to help him with zero success.
First it was the tears, then anger, denial, and now he’s just bitter. He hates the world and everything about it. For Thanksgiving he refused to come with me to my parents house. He didn’t “see the point”. Now we are a few days from Christmas and after dragging all the boxes out of the attic by myself, and decorating around him while he wallows in that damn recliner, I was set to have a beautiful Christmas with or without him.
Stepping out for a few hours of much needed shopping therapy, I walk through the front door to find all of my decorations ripped off the walls and strewn all over the floor. Ornaments smashed, garland ripped apart. My husband had turned into a homicidal maniac while I was gone and his victim was Christmas.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I said.
He just sat there, looking out the window, completely unapologetic. I know that he’s hurting but how are we ever going to get passed this if he refuses to go to therapy? He won’t even accept visitors or return phone calls from his friends or family. He barely makes it to work everyday and has been in trouble more than a few times now for his attitude. It’s exhausting living with someone who has completely given up on life.
Entering the bedroom, I grab a small suitcase from the closet and pack some clothes inside. Tossing toiletries from the bathroom in my jacket pocket, I sprint through the living room, snatch my keys off the table, and open the front door.
“I’m going to stay with my parents,” I said.
He doesn’t even look at me. Tears fill my face and anger rises in my chest as I exit the house.
It’s Christmas Eve morning, and I awaken to the sound of my mother crying. My father passed away in his sleep last night. My heart feels like someone is squeezing it so hard that it might burst into tiny pieces. I can’t breathe. This reality is too much bear. First my unborn child, then a failed marriage and now my Dad’s gone.
Suddenly, my world feels dark and horrible; a place I want no part of. Drawing the shades in my bedroom, I pull the covers up over my head and just lay in bed, crying. The sound of pain creeps through the walls as I scream and yell for hours.
As I drift in and out of a tear-filled sleep, I’m startled by a knock on the door. Too sad to move, I cover my ears and pray whoever it is will give up and go away. The knocking continues until finally, I jump out of bed due to sheer annoyance.
When I open the door, nobody is there. Looking down I see a baby pine tree perched on the steps, with a golden bow on top. Picking it up and looking it over, the card reads, “This is a Memorial Tree in remembrance of your father. Plant the tree in your yard so that everyday you can see him growing in the afterlife.”
Tears well up in my eyes at the thought. Sad, broken and barely dressed, I manage to make my way outside. Getting down on my knees, I use my hands to pull back the dirt. Behind me I hear the sound of footsteps. When I look up I see Ben, carrying a water pail and some gardening tools in one arm, and a second tree in the other.
“I thought we could plant them together…so they won’t be alone.”
Looking at the other tree in his hands, I see a tag that says “Baby Girl”.
Reaching up to him, I hold out my hand. He kneels down, placing the tools and tree on the ground and we embrace for the first time in months.
As we plant the trees, snow falls gently, covering the ground around us. Ben smiles at me and I smile back. I know now, that we are going to be okay. In darkness, we found each other…and in each other, we found hope.
This short story is for a December Writing Contest as part of Writers 750.