I flicked my left wrist up to see the time, realizing that it was already 4:15 and time to head home. Unlike most days, today seemed to go by fast. “See you later, Mr. Hugo.” I said, hoping to impress the man who one day could possibly make me just a little richer.
“Mhm, you too, Ben.” he responded in the most bland of voices.
As I walked to the elevator, I thought about one of the most important decisions that I had to make all day: ‘What should I pick up for dinner?’ I pressed the “L” button and as it lit up, I felt a wave of relief remembering that it’s a week until Sarah’s birthday, meaning that I would have enough time to get her that dress that she always gazed at through the glass window of the 2nd Time Around shop on Hill Street. I entered my 2004 Toyota and started the rusty car. The store was only about 5 minutes away so I could get home by around 4:45, just on time to watch the newest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I pick up a salad and half of a roasted chicken from the store, and left for home.
As I pull into the driveway, I notice that there’s another car parked. ‘Must be Josh’ I thought. Josh was our neighbor and came over occasionally to give us vegetables that he had planted in his beautiful garden a few weeks before. “I’m home from work, Sar,” I say. The house seems quieter than usual. “Hello? Anyone home?” I call out to, unfortunately, no one. In the corner of my eye, I see a man tip toeing out of her room. When I flick my head right, I’m not surprised to see Josh. What I am surprised to see is that he’s half naked. The initial fear in his eyes was something that only a oscar nominated movie director could create, and maybe not even that.
“Oh- Hey, Ben” he said, trying to stop shaking like a leaf. Before I could say anything back, he darted out of the room, out to the back yard, and over the fence. I just stood there, in that same exact spot next to the 20 year old couch, and the picture of Sarah and I at our wedding day, which had been turned the other way.
“Ben, listen to me,” I hear her say, not looking at her but instead to the flipped photo of us. Although she keeps talking, I can’t quite comprehend what she saying. “I’m so sorry, Ben.” was the last thing that I heard before I headed for the door.
I decided not to take my car, and instead walk. ‘How could she do this?’ ‘Am I not good enough?’ ‘Why him?’. These were just some of the contagious thoughts that were going through my head as I walked towards my destination, not that I had anywhere in particular in mind. I took a right on to Harris Road, where we bought our first house. We couldn't have been more happy. A southern, 2 bedroom 1 bath townhouse which was in her words, “The perfect place to start a family.” It was the perfect place to start a family. But when we found out that prostate cancer had been detrimental to ever having children, we moved into a smaller, 1 bedroom, half-a-bath home. She told me that it didn’t matter if we don’t have kids, she would want to be with me forever. I passed the house and started on to King Street. On the right was The Blue Cross, the small pub where I met the woman of my dreams. It was a Friday night, and I had just gotten off of my first week of work. “Pour me another” I said to the bartender whom I knew of on a first name basis, Dale, by now. A tap on the shoulder somewhat startles me, but as I turn around I’m shocked to see such an amazingly elegant woman about to say something to me. “You’ve dropped your hat” she said in her charismatic voice.
“Oh, thank you.” I said with somewhat of a disappointed tone. Surprisingly, she asked me for my name, and hopefully she hasn’t forgotten since.
I now turn onto Hill Street. The so called the “Street with all the stuff, and more stuff,” Her favorite store, 2nd Time Around was on the corner with the big red sign essentially screaming “Cheap, decent clothes that you can afford.” The dress is still there, seemingly glistening in the dirty window of the rundown store.
I start to head home, and the whole way, thinking to myself how I’ll eventually forgive her and we’ll live a long happy life with just this one small bump in the road. I open the door, sit down on the couch and say,
“I just don’t understand, Sarah. All the good times and memories that we’ve had, and now you’re just going to throw that all away? I jus-” Only at that moment, I realized that she wasn’t in the same room as me.
“Sarah?” I called out. As I walked slowly, step by step, into her room, I see a note on the ground. ‘I’m so sorry. You don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve you, or any of this.’ The gruesome dead body in the room with a single gunshot wound to the head wasn’t even the worst part, I think to myself. The fact that I felt as though I think I would do the same, was.