Little did she know how events would change. She had approached this with optimism, a chance to renew, rekindle, reconnect. Their relationship had been rocky for the last few months. She couldn’t pinpoint the day it started, but she remembered waking one morning and staring into his sleeping face and feeling nothing. It wasn’t even that she didn’t like him, she just didn’t feel. How did it get like this? She asked herself. We were once so in love.
When quarantine, or self-isolation as those who liked to put a positive spin on things called it, came into effect, she thought this would be their chance. They had no children, they only had each other. They couldn’t go anywhere, theirs was going to be a quarantine love story, or so she thought.
Their first day together was filled with promises of things they would do; paint the bedroom, hang the new curtains, whitewash the brick fireplace, the list went on and the optimism was aplenty.
By day three, they had crossed some smaller jobs off their very long list and were still in the throws of happiness, each laughing at the other’s jokes, sharing a knowing smile, reminiscing days when they could freely wander without risk of disease.
They steadily went through their list and with each passing day, their somewhat run-down house began to look fresh again.
Their relationship however was not going in the same direction. They had started to quibble over little things. Most of their days were spent disgruntled with each other. She was bored with him. Bored with seeing his face day in and day out! What she thought was indifference had now taken a different turn; She had begun to dislike him, even hate him! He always thought he new more than her. His ideas were better. His needs more important, his taste of a different caliber to hers. He was pretending to try to make her happy, but she knew he pitied her; Thought he was better. Day after day it went on, the belittling, the pretension, she couldn’t take any more! She screamed and screamed, but he wouldn’t bite, always calm, once again beating her in this war!
As she sat on their bedroom floor, staring at their wedding photo, wondering if she would ever be happy again, he came into the room, his eyes cloudy, his face feverish. He was pale. She didn’t care. She cursed him for pretending to be sick. She told him she had to get out of the house, that he was bringing her nothing but torment every day! He told her he loved her and he was sorry. He never meant for this to happen. She packed her bag, not even looking behind as she closed the door.
She drove for hours, not knowing where to go or who to see. Social distancing was a real thing, she had no one upon whom she could turn. She parked her car on the side of deserted road and cried herself to sleep. Finally, as the sun rose on a new morning, she opened her bloodshot eyes and realized what a fool she had been. It was not he who had caused so much harm to their relationship, it was she! How could I not see the destruction I had caused? Always looking for something better, for reasons why we wouldn’t work, why he wasn’t good enough! Why I wasn’t good enough! She drove to their small, quaint house, the newly hung curtains reflecting the sun’s morning glow. New beginnings were everywhere, including in her heart, she only hoped he would, no he could, forgive her. As she walked through the door, a smile came across her face, a true smile, a smile filled with love and hope. She ran to the bedroom door, yelling her apologies as she made her way. “I love you! Oh what a fool I’ve been!”
Her expression froze as she saw him. Her happiness turned to terror as she realized she would never again see his handsome face smile at her. Gone was the opportunity to rekindle anything. His blank gaze stared into the unknown beyond. His body no longer feverish. Her world, the world she thought so mundane, so horrific, gone. The man that until this morning, she had taken for granted, had never truly appreciated, but had always loved, he was gone, forever.