The End

Previously:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Ray and Sarah ride along in silence as Nico drones along to the dirge the Velvet Underground are laying down for her.  When the song finally winds to its end, Ray turns off the stereo and the sounds of the fan, the engine, and their breathing are the new soundtrack.

“It would be easier if I was cheating on you.  Then it would make sense.”

“What?”

“It would make sense, to me at least.”

“What are you talking about?”

“We’re never getting married.”

“I do love you.”

“Yeah.”  Ray’s eyes burn and ache as he stares out the windshield.  It becomes hard for him to drive with his vision getting obscured.  They alternate sniffing and avoiding looking at each other until they get to the parking lot of the apartment complex.

“I’ll start packing up my stuff.  I’ll sleep on the couch until I find my own place.  Hopefully, I’ll get something in the next week.”  Ray walks through the front door and on into the bedroom.  When Sarah joins him, he has already emptied his underwear drawer into his duffle bag.

“I don’t want you to go.  We can still be friends.”

“In what fucking world is that possible?”  Ray continues packing.  “I’ll move out.  Your name is on the lease and you have nowhere else to go.  I’ve got friends and family around here who can put me up if I need it.”

“Fuck you.”  Sarah leaves the bedroom and stops in the living room. She stands in the middle of the room looking around, lost and nervous.

Ray feels good that she still can get mad at him.  “I’m not him, Sarah.”

“Who?” she shouts back.

“Your father, your brother, your first boyfriend.  Whoever the hell made you act like this.  I can’t wait for you to get over whoever it is.  I’m not him.  Quit treating me like I am.”

She storms back into the bedroom, “How am I treating you?”

“Every time I think about talking about more than just living tougher and fucking, you run away like I want to steal your soul or something.  I’m not going to leave you.”

“You might leave.”

“Yeah, I might.  You might leave me.”

“You don’t know anything about me.”

“That’s why I’m leaving.”  Ray moves past her to the bathroom and grabs his toothbrush, deodorant and shaving kit.”

“Please stop.”

“Why?”

“This is going to sound like some sappy movie.”

“Then don’t tell it.”

“I thought you wanted to know.”

“I thought I did to.  I concocted this half-assed plan to leave and make you fight for me to stay to prove to you that we loved each other.  Somewhere halfway through packing I figured out, I wanted to leave.”  He sets down on the bed and leans forward with his elbows on his knees.  “I know it isn’t supposed to be easy, but it damn sure should not be this hard.  I can’t keep fighting you every step of the way, Sarah.”

“I do love you.”

“It isn’t about whether you love me.  I love you.  We love each other.  Yet, here we are, the same place we’ve always been.”  He stands and picks up the bag.  “I’m going to call Mark.  I think he’ll put me up for the night.  We can talk tomorrow.  We should not talk anymore today.  OK.”

Sarah stands off to the side as he walks past her.  She hears him on the phone as he opens and closes the front door, “Hey, Mark.  Yeah.  Hey, can use your spare bedroom tonight.  I need a place…”  He is gone.  She can still smell his scent in the air.  She goes and sits on the couch.

The central air whirs to life and ice is dumped out of the icemaker into the tray.  She hears none of it.

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