based on the song by Shawn Mendes
Alex stirs in his sleep, knowing he needs to wake up but the why just won’t come to him. He’s in that half sleep mode where you know your eyes are closed; you know you’re in bed because you can the feel the pillow under your head and the quilt wrapped around you, but for some reason your brain isn’t alert enough to let you open your eyes.
Can’t be that important of a reason then if my brain refuses to let me back into the land of the living.The thought flits through his mind, and despite wishing that is the case he can’t shake the niggling feeling that it’s a total lie and there really is something important he should be aware of. Rolling onto his side, Alex ignores the feeling in the back of his mind that he needs to be conscious of his surroundings and drifts off into a peaceful sleep.
Standing outside the front door, he places the key in the lock a smile on his face that after a long day, and week, at work, he is finally able to see the love of his life for a blissfully quiet evening sat in the front of the television with snacks and drinks – their usual Friday night ritual to start the weekend off.
“Babe, I’m home!” He calls out as normal, expecting the sound of light footsteps to be heading his way for their usual welcome home greeting. He places his briefcase by the door and hangs his jacket on the coat hooks on the wall. Stepping through the door his heart leaps as he trips over something soft and hard. He glances down to see a large red handbag there, clearly full to the brim of personal belongings. He slowly bends down and picks it up, a state of confusion and sadness sweeping over him.
She was serious? She was actually serious this time?He places the bag down gently on the floor where it came from and heads for the lounge only to find it empty. The same is to be said for the kitchen and evidently the bathroom where the door is wide open. The only door in the flat to be shut is the bedroom door; their bedroom door. One hundred percent sure he is not going to like what he sees in there, he heads for it, trying to keep himself composed as he reaches out for the handle. He slowly twists it until he hears the click and pushes the door open to reveal B sat on the bed, folding clothes and neatly placing them into a suitcase, clearly in a world of her own.
“Hey.” All other words fail him at this point plus the fact any other words he says may not come out so calm and collected.
She freezes in place, hand resting on the latest item of clothing to be packed. She slowly raises her head to look up at the man stood before her. She swallows hard.This wasn’t supposed to happen like this – I was supposed to be gone before he came home.She slowly stands and smooths her skater dress back down over her leggings. She takes a few steps forward but still leaves a reasonably gap between them.
“Hey.” She knows she needs to say more; to explain above all else but she can’t find the words to say.
“You’re the one packing and all you have to say is hey?” He goes to slam his palm into the dressing table beside him but thinks better of it. She drops her head slightly, not able to look at him. “So, the other day when you said,” he pauses to swallow the sadness burning his throat from holding back the tears threatening to escape.
She looks up. “I meant it.” She moves forward with more confidence and reaches out for his arm, but he flinches away from her. “We want different things, Alex. You know that’s the truth. There’s no point in stringing each other along for the sake of avoiding the whole break-up thing.”
“This can’t be happening – I must be dreaming.” He spins on the spot, leaving his back to her, wondering if he walks out the front door and back in, he’ll come back to an entirely different scene. He starts to walk out the door but a hand pulls him back.
“I’m sorry but it is happening.” Her voice is small and soft. “Alex, look at me, please. Let me explain.” She pulls him around to face her, but he refuses to make eye contact. “Alex.” She whispers his name whilst forcing his gaze down to look at her. She scans his eyes, waiting for the right words to form in her head. “I just think we need some time apart to figure things out; to figure out what we want.”
“I know what I want – I want you, and only you, for the rest of my life.” He holds her shoulders as if to shake her to make her understand but merely holds her in place so she can’t leave.
She places a hand on his cheek. “I know.” She slides her thumb across his skin several times over. “But, I…” She swallows the words down.
“You don’t want me.” He takes a step back, not able to bare her touch.
“I thought I did, but lately, I don’t know – I guess I want more time to discover the world, have adventures and enjoy being young while it lasts.”
“We can do that, but together.” He keeps his eyes on her, determined not to break.
She nods. “I think we missed our chance.” She closes the gap again and holds his face tightly. “We are at different stages in our lives. I know you want to settle down and start a life with someone but I’m not sure I am ready for that yet. You deserve to meet someone who is ready to take the plunge, but I don’t think that’s me. That’s why I have to leave,” She turns back to her suitcase and places the last few things into it. “Tonight.”
His head meets her gaze again as the last word registers. “Tonight?” He hurries forward, not sure he can let her go like that; so soon. He needs time to process this information in the event he can make it right; can change her mind somehow. Kneeling down he places his hands on her knees, pleading with his eyes. “Please, just stay one more night.”
“Alex…” She pushes him away gently. “I can’t.” She shakes her head. “I have to go.”
“No!” His abruptness makes them both jump. “No, please. Just humour me okay – just stay tonight and if you still feel the same in the morning then I won’t stop you.”
“Don’t make this harder than it already is.” She stands and wheels her suitcase to the door stopping when he starts again.
“Please! Before you leave and say goodbye, can’t you please just act like you love me for one more night?”
She turns to see his begging face; the sadness mixed with hope in his eyes. Would one more night be so bad? Just one, so they can say goodbye properly. She sighs heavily and lets go of the handle. “Alex, why are you doing this?”
“Just give me a chance – I promise I’ll make things right.” He moves forward and sways slightly, taking her hand in his. “I’ll make you breakfast the way you like before you leave tomorrow. Please, just let me try.”
“Okay.” She shrugs slightly, a small smile playing at her lips, finally admitting defeat.
He smiles. “Okay.” He moves forward and holds her shoulders more affectionately this time. “We’re going to make a proper night of it – food, drink and shite TV, like we always do.” He takes her hand again and leads her into the lounge to start their last night together.
Hours later Alex is laid on the bed, on his side, waiting for B to join him so he can have one more night of her laying in his arms; of him keeping her warm so he can have this time to pretend that the morning isn’t going to happen.
Brie slowly emerges through the doorway and tentatively makes her way over to the bed. She stands there awkwardly like it isn’t normal for them to be sharing a bed.
Alex pats the space in front of him. “Lay here right in my arms.” He smiles, giving her some reassurance that that’s all he wants. She joins him and snuggles into his arms, the gesture suddenly feeling so familiar. “Can we just stay like this forever? Just freeze this moment.”
Despite the sadness, she smiles. “If only we could.” She rests a palm on his chest. “Now, go to sleep.”
He rests his head on hers and shakes it so she can feel the motion. “I don’t want to sleep – if I sleep the morning will come quicker and then you’ll be gone.” He places a light kiss on her forehead. “I just need to make sense of this. It’s okay for you – you made your choice – once you’re gone in the morning, you’ll be over this, but I need this one more night so I can forget.” He rests his chin on her head. “I need to forget for just one night that you leaving is really going to happen.” He leans back to look down at her, wondering how long she had been looking up at him. “So, can you act like you love me one more time so I can go on?”
She reaches up and cups his cheek. “Yes.” She whispers the words and lightly places a kiss on his lips, pulling away before he can deepen it.
“Promise me something.”
She keeps her gaze on him. “Anything.”
“Promise me, you’ll sneak out when I’m asleep.”
“What?” She lifts up slightly. “No goodbye?”
He shakes his head. “This is our goodbye – this last night together. I just won’t be able to watch you leave so promise me that one thing.”
“Okay.” She whispers the word. “I’ll leave when you’re asleep.”
He rests his head back on hers as she lays on him again. “When I wake up, and you’re miles down the road, I’m gonna be hoping this was actually all a dream.” He welcomes the silence her non-existent reply brings as he holds her tighter, praying that when he wakes up she will still be laid here beside him, in his arms.
Alex’s eyes flicker open, to find he is staring at the empty side of his double bed, the quilt folded back as if someone has gotten out. He sits up and runs his hands all over the space, still not ready to except it’s the truth; that she really did leave. He rubs his eyes and pinches himself several time over, hoping he is still dreaming but to no avail.
Still determined to not believe his dream was actually a memory playing back in his head, he drags himself out of bed and wanders into the lounge, the evidence there all too consuming. Empty glasses and food pots are strewn over the coffee table as he wasn’t going to waste his last hours with her tidying up the place when that can be done while he feels sorry for himself.
Merci pour la lecture!
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