I know she left you that morning – waited till you were on your way to work and packed her bag. I know she collected a few toys for the children and, holding one by his tiny hand and carrying the other, I know she walked away.
She didn’t have the courage to tell you any of this was going to happen. There was no warning that the text that beeped, bleating its bleak arrival, was going to be a swansong to your marriage, a farewell to your life and all you knew.
You texted her back, furious, desperate. I’m sure you were bewildered too. I know the crushing chest pain that comes with that kind of shock, I remember the sudden fear, the adrenaline rush, the taut tight muscles.
She replied. Swearing, undignified. She said you weren’t going to see the children, those rosy faces, those soft curls. Their blue eyes are your eyes and the pain of this, oh, the rabid fury.
You crunched the gears. Choking back bile and vitriol and words. Your hands were slippery on the wheel. The sweat. The arbitrary task of getting to work. For what? The pointlessness swung like a pendulum in your mind, crashing emphatically against the inside of your skull, hammering home the emptiness.
I know you slowed down then, careful not to lose control of the car. You tapped the dashboard with your worried fingers, trying to beat out a solution. The next message you sent was kind, pleading, apologetic.
Her reply was an almost-instant sting. Painful. Sharp.
You remembered all the moments, the births of your children, the tears after fights, the times when your heads bent so close together in laughter that her breath gusted into your mouth. That was the message you didn’t finish, half a line begging for something that will never be written.
I admire the way you carry on. How you put one foot in front of the other every day. I am in awe of how you kiss your children, of the way you imagine them growing up and manage to see that future without monsters round every corner. I admire the way you move food to your mouth and chew, of how you can still swallow, taste, sip without everything turning to mud.
You drove into the back of my son’s racing bike because you were writing a text. He died instantly.
I am in awe of how you know that and, yet, live.
This is my entry for the https://thanetcreativewriters.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/who-do-i-admire/ competition.