Hey everyone! Long time no see, I know… I’ve been super busy lately, between starting a new job, running a podcast with my friend, and starting school again soon! I’m going to try my best to keep up with my writing, and to start writing again, I’m going to use some awesome prompts I’ve found from Writer’s Digest. I do have a story in the works, and I’m hoping to make it a book and live my dream as a writer. But we all have to start somewhere, right? I hope you all enjoy this!
Valentine’s Day is the ultimate couple’s holiday, right? Usually, for me, I spend it with my long time boyfriend Gavin. He makes a whole night of it, taking me to a nice dinner, watching a movie and then spending the rest of our time between the sheets. The past year has been a little difficult for us though, and I’ve had enough. As awful as it is, this Valentine’s Day is going to be one neither of us will forget, no matter how much we wish we could.
For the past hour, I’ve been trying on outfit after outfit, pacing around my room, staring at myself in the mirror thinking about what I can do to fix my hair or makeup. Ugh, Allie, why bother? I scolded myself silently. I sigh, my lips turning down. There’s no reason to dress up tonight, you are going to be strong and break things off with Gavin so you can move on with your life. Although I was ready to be free, to not feel stuck in my life anymore, it still hurt. I’ve spent five years in a relationship with Gavin, and the first four years were truly great; any girl’s dream come true. We were not only lovers, but also best friends. We were playful and fun, but could also be serious and romantic, not to mention we hardly ever argued. Gavin was really cute and laid back; he just kinda goes where life takes him, whether it was us moving from place to place or him switching jobs, which he did often. He always told me he liked the experience, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he would ever settle down and be serious about life, maybe go to college and get a degree so he could stay in just one job. He got a new job about six months ago, and this is the longest he’s ever stayed with one company since we’ve been together. He really likes the people, and his boss has been promising promotions and raises. Empty promises, leading to stress and him lashing out, but leaving that baggage at the door and doing his job the best he could.
Any time I’ve mentioned school or my progress lately, he’s gotten annoyed with me. Sometimes he’ll huff at me and leave the room, and come back after smoking and cooling down. Other times, it starts into a fight, and the school thing snowballs into other arguments, which get ugly quickly. The fighting has grown more frequent lately, especially because there will be nights where he would say he’s working late, then come home and sneak around the house, hardly staying around me for more than a few minutes at a time. Money has also been tight lately, and he seems to be short all the time; did I mention he plays dumb, like he doesn’t know where he spends his own money? I’ve had enough, and lately, this relationship has felt more like a prison than a safe haven. I don’t look forward to coming home from work anymore, knowing that there’s most likely an ugly fight waiting to happen behind the front door.
So, here I am, getting dressed in the spare room and waiting for Gavin to return home. After I changed seven times, I decided that the first outfit looked fine, and that it would be nice, but not give away my intentions. I had thought about this for a few weeks, and turned to my sister, and best friend, Kate, for help, as well as discussing this with my mom. My mom was sad, of course, but understood that if this is what I needed to be happy, that she supported me and that I could stay at home again for as long as I needed until I found a new place of my own.
I was extremely nervous, and my anxiety spiked when I heard the lock on the front door turn. “Babe!” Gavin called. “I’m home, let’s get ready to go to dinner! I made reservations at that restaurant that you love and we need to be there in a half hour.” He paused in the doorway, holding a bouquet of red roses towards me, sporting his signature goofy grin. I couldn’t help but smile. I loved him, and would miss his sweet, brown eyes greeting me at home, or seeing me off to work every morning. I would definitely miss his soft, mousy brown hair, and running my fingers through it. I met him halfway across the room, taking the flowers and planting a soft kiss on his lips. “Mmm,” Gavin groaned. He playfully squeezed my ass, then grabbed a dark red dress off of the bed. “You should wear this tonight, it’s my favorite dress you own.”
I smiled and nodded in agreement, waiting for him to leave before shutting the door, letting out a long sigh. I’m starting to second guess myself. Maybe I should just wait until after dinner, we can talk things over. Maybe give him one more chance…
I picked up the red dress, giving it a long once over before slipping out of the skirt and blouse I was wearing currently. Three soft knocks on the door, and Gavin made his way over to me, zipping up the dress without me having to ask. It was these little things that I loved, that he would just do for me, no questions asked. And then, he argues with you about the big, serious things. What then? I turned and wrapped my arms around his neck, looking deep into his eyes. This is how I want to remember him- happy, goofy, carefree. Unlike how he will be later, when I have to talk with him. I have to do this. He grabbed my hand and led me out the door, down to his car where he opened the door for me, like a gentleman. As he settled in the car and clicked his seatbelt into place, I grabbed his hand and squeezed softly. “Hey, Gav?”
“Yeah babe, what’s up?”
“I love you, you know that? I just wanted to talk about some things, but we can talk after dinner.” He smiled and nodded in agreement, kissing me quickly before starting the car and driving us to dinner. “I have something for you too, but we’ll take care of that when we get home.” I giggled softly, watching the scenery as we drove through the city.
The meal was great, and we had a great table, too. The music was soft and romantic in the background, and we were full and happy by the time we left. Gavin was acting a little strange at dinner, almost antsy. I was anxious too, and I’m one hundred percent sure that it’s for a different reason. Just breathe, Allie. You can do this. I had to keep reminding myself to stay strong. I love Gavin, I do, but it’s just been too difficult being with him recently. Things have gone downhill and I think that at the very least, we need some time and space away from each other.
We got home, and he set up candles and some dessert at the kitchen table. The roses he had brought home earlier had been put into a vase, and made a beautiful centerpiece. I was really starting to worry and question myself more and more, and soon, my inner voice was yelling at me. It was to the point that I couldn’t even concentrate on what he was saying, and at one point, he had to snap me out of my thoughts. He poured us some champagne and put on some soft jazz music, holding out his hand to me. “Can I have this dance, my lady?” He said, using a British accent. I smiled, grabbing his hand. He pulled me up and into his arms, holding me close. We had never really danced before, so at first, it was awkward and didn’t feel right. Maybe it doesn’t feel right because you’re leaving-
“So, I have a little surprise for you.” Gavin interrupts my thoughts, stopping our short dance. He grinned at me, and suddenly, I was extremely nervous. “I know you’ve wanted this for a while and I just wasn’t ready at first, but I am now. I love you, Allie,” he sighed, kissing the back of my hand as he got down on one knee, pulling a small, black velvet box out of his pocket. Oh, no. No, no, no.
“This can’t be happening,” I whispered, covering my mouth with my right hand. He held my left hand in his, opening up the box to show a beautiful diamond ring. Exactly the one I wanted.
“Allie, will you-”
“Gavin, I can’t marry you,” The words spilled out. I pulled him up and looked down at my feet, feeling my eyes beginning to burn. He snapped the box shut and grabbed for my hand, but I pulled away. He was already making this harder than it needed to be.
“Allie?” He said quietly. He put his fingers under my chin and gently forced my face up, so I had to look at him. The look on his face hurt, but the tears in his eyes shattered me.
“Gavin, I wanted to talk with you earlier,” I sighed. I tucked a strand of loose hair behind my ear. “But you had planned this dinner and I didn’t want to ruin anything-”
“It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?” He muttered. He looked down, shifting back, allowing for some space between us. His eyes found mine again, searching for answers. I took a deep breath, hoping for some strength to explain without breaking down.
“Gavin, I love you, I really do,” I explained. “But lately things have felt so off, so wrong. You’ve been distant, moody, and nothing has really felt serious anymore. I want to be with you, but-”
“You just need some space, right?” He was angry. When he looked at me, it felt as if he had never really loved me. The only thing I could see now was the fire in his eyes, fierce and unforgiving. “This was supposed to be a surprise, Al. I know it’s hard for you to understand, since you didn’t have to deal with planning this proposal, saving money away to make sure I got exactly what you wanted, while you avoided this house, our house, like the plague. While you grew distant from me, and I knew I had to act fast. Dammit!” Gavin was yelling now. I took a step toward him, but he took a couple more back away from me. “No. I don’t want to hear any more. You think I haven’t thought about getting serious, Allie? It’s all I’ve thought about! You are my dream, my future. All I’ve ever wanted. And now you just want to walk away, after all of this! What we’ve been through, how much we’ve grown?”
“Gav, it isn’t like that-”
“Oh, really. Then tell me what it’s like, Al.” I shook my head, willing my tears to stop. In one swift movement, he rushed over to me, cupping my face with his hands. His big, brown eyes desperately searching mine for answers, begging me to change my mind. And for a second, I almost did.
“Gavin, I am so sorry,” I cried, voice shaking. “I need you to understand that I love you, and I always will. But right now, I just need some space. We need some time apart.” He shook his head, more tears forming. “This doesn’t have to be anything permanent. We’ve spent the last five years together, and they were the best five years of my life.”
“If they were the best, why are you doing this? Why? Even though I am so sad, so confused, you’re the only person I want to talk to, Allie,” He whispered. “But I understand. I’ll go, I’ll stay at a hotel or something for as long as you want.”
“No, Gavin,” I cut him off. I had already broken down, and I needed to stand firm now. “I’ve already made arrangements. You can stay here. We’ve already paid rent this month, I don’t want you to be short on money or anything.”
“I can’t stay here, Allie. All it will do is remind me of you and this.” He motioned around the room before rubbing at his temples. “It will kill me slowly. And that’s not how I want to go.”
“It’s done, Allie. If you need time and space, that’s what I can give you.” He let out a deep sigh. “I just hope we can find our way back to each other one day.”
Why does this feel like a forever goodbye?
Gavin leaned down and kissed my forehead, before heading into our room. Immediately, I rushed across the living room and to the back door, sitting down on the balcony before letting out the tears and emotions I had held in for so long. I haven’t cried this way in a long time, not at least since my parents got divorced. What have I done?
Hands shaking, I pulled out my phone and called my older sister. She was the only one who had seen me like this before and really knew how to comfort me, and was able to successfully calm me down. Gavin is the only other person who could help me.
I called Kate sobbing, and she told me she would come pick me up in twenty minutes. I padded into the bedroom, noticing the stillness in our home. More hot tears spilled down my cheeks as I walked to the dresser, where he left a note with the ring box, open and waiting for me.
At first I didn’t get it, but now I do. I haven’t been the person you’ve needed me to be, and that’s okay. That’s not your fault. I’m going to stay in a hotel close to work, so I won’t be far if you need me. I love you, Allie. You’re my one, and I’m so sorry I let you slip from my grasp. I’ll always be waiting for you.
The note fell from my hands, and I crumpled to the ground. More heavy sobs poured out of me as Kate sat beside me, pulling me into her arms. She sniffled, trying to hush me as I felt my world fall down around me. “K-Kate,” I hiccuped, “What did I do?” She pulled me in tighter. “What have I done?” I wailed, shoving the note and the ring in her hands. She read the note and rocked me until I was finally calm enough to talk about what happened. Kate had managed to talk me into going to a late night coffee shop for a pick-me-up.
I spilled my guts, including how I immediately regretted my decision. Kate reached across the table and squeezed my hand gently. “Honey, I know you are hurting right now, and that you want to run to him, but you need to remember he’s hurting too. I think you both need some space, maybe a few days to breathe.” I sighed. She’s right. I did this, to myself, but mostly to Gavin. He didn’t deserve this. “I wish I had just talked with him, instead of leaving him. I ended up hurting both of us in the process.” My eyes burned, but I felt as if I had no tears left to cry.
Kate nodded silently. “Babe, it would have hurt no matter how it happened. It sounds like you’ve been trying to talk with him, right? And he hasn’t really heard you. Maybe this will give him, and you, some time to think about what you both really want.”
For me, the answer is easy. I want him. I want my best friend back. Mostly, I want to turn back time, at least go back to yesterday, and warn myself what would happen. How much it would hurt not just him, but me as well. In an attempt to gain some space and a little time, I lost more than I could ever hope to gain. I let out a shaky sigh.
“Hey, don’t do that,” Kate warned. “No matter how much you wish you could go back and change it, undo the past, it won’t work. The best advice I have for you is to take a few days, three minimum, to think and breathe. Both of you need time to breathe.”
“Thank you, Kate. I don’t know what I would ever do without you.”
TO BE CONTINUED.