“Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.” ~ Guy Finley
She stepped out of the shower, water dripping from her skin, and reached for the towel hanging on the broken rack.
He stood in front of the mirror, bare feet warm on the cold rug underneath, and brushed his teeth with the last bit of toothpaste left.
She met his eyes in the mirror and knew what was coming next. He looked back at her through the glass and spit, knowing what he had to do. She didn’t make a move to dry off, but sunk down to sit on the edge of the tub. He sat on top of the toilet lid, their knees barley touching.
“Just say it,” her voice was small and soft as she picked at the loose strands on the towel. “Say what you wanted to last night.”
“That’s not fair,” he answered, voice rough in a sharp comparison to hers. “This isn’t easy for me either.”
“You’re the one ending it. This is your choice.”
“Can you really tell me that you’re happy? That this is working?”
Looking up to meet his eyes, she saw they were full to the brim with tears. God, don’t do that, she thought. If he started to cry, she would start crying. It was why she called off the fight the night before. It was too much to bear.
“But I love you,” she nearly pleaded feeling the lump rise up as quickly as everything was crashing down. “More than I’ve ever loved anybody.”
His fingers wrapped around hers softly, trying to find his own form of comfort. From day one, he never thought this would happen. She was different. She was everything he ever wanted, but things changed. The same way people change. The same way they changed.
“When I was young,” he started reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose to keep the tears at bay. His voice cracked, betraying him, “I never got it when people said ‘love isn’t enough’, but I do now.”
She leaned forward, her head in her free hand and cried quietly. “We can try to fix it,” she suggested, but they were just empty words. They’d been trying for so long, but what used to be just wasn’t anymore.
“Scoot over,” he mumbled and sat on the edge of the tub with her. His arms held her tight and the water from her hair seeped into his shirt.
She thought about the first time he kissed her, outside the grocery store while her hands were still locked on the shopping cart. He thought about the first time she said she loved him, on the couch after he laughed so hard at one of her jokes. She thought about their first fight, screaming and throwing burnt cookies in the kitchen. He thought about the first time they made up, raw cookie dough and sweet kisses.
These moments were suddenly nothing but memories. She thought the hardest thing she ever had to do was walk away, but it was knowing she’d never laugh with him the way they used to. He’d never felt such an ache as he held her knowing this was the end of their story.
The only sound left in the small space was the dripping of the faucet as his lips gently touched hers for the last time.