Flash Fiction

Don’t Go

I said it, and I meant it. Still, I wish I could have taken it back––made it up to her––made her understand.

I watched helplessly as she lobbed makeup, brushes, and toiletries into a case at record speed.

“You don’t have to do this,” I implored, trembling. I reached for her waist, but she anticipated the move and staggered to the side, almost tripping.

“Get out of my way,” she snapped, shoving past me. “I have nothing left to say to you.”

I wanted to yell, bang my fist through the wall, and force her to listen while I pled my case. Instead, I slunk onto the unmade bed, cupping my head in shame. “I never meant to hurt you.”

“Ha,” she cackled, her voice hardening. “Yeah––right. Keep telling yourself that.”

“I didn’t, but you asked for the truth,” I countered, deflecting blame. “I would have kept it to myself had I known you’d react this way.”

Gaslighting—the next best thing to avoidance.

“You mean you would have lied,” she said, wagging her finger, staring me down.

I flinched, jerking back, my mouth desert-dry.

“I’m not mad you told the truth,” she snorted, followed by dismissive laughter. “I’m hurt that you’ve been two-faced all this time.”

My jaw dropped, and my brain froze. I combed my frazzled brain for a sharp comeback but found nothing, and she knew it by the disgust spreading across her face.

“You make me sick.” She turned away, giving me her back, busily stuffing a folded sweater into her luggage.

My head said argue, deny, dig up dirt on her past behaviors and shortcomings. Instead, I shook my head as though to clear away the fogginess but only succeeded in making myself lightheaded.

“I can’t believe I trusted you.” She reasoned, giving voice to her decision to call it quits more for herself than me.

A thin sheen of sweat dampened her cheekbone, and I so badly wanted to kiss it away.

I watched her dig into her purse, looking for something. Coming up empty-handed, she stomped toward the dresser, past the desk I built for her, hip knocking into the chair, causing it to tip.

I was finding it difficult to catch my breath while my heart thumped violently against my ribcage. I rubbed the back of my neck, mind-combing for the right words to say. “I can’t help how I feel,” I stammered, hating how pathetic and whiny that sounded.

After closing the suitcase, she let it drop unceremoniously to the floor. Without uttering another word, she slipped on her coat, gripped the pull handle on her luggage, and wheeled it out of the room, never glancing back.

My heart sank. This was it—the grand finale.

I sat at the edge of the bed, holding my head in my hands, racked with self-loathing.

Moments later, the front door opened and slammed shut. She’d left me for good this time, taking my unborn child with her, and no lie, manipulation, or false promise left in the world would ever bring either of them back.

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