She glances at the photo of them on the coffee table - two people, smiling, happy, in love. The photo was fading from years sitting by the sunlight, but the frame was shiny, without a speck of dust. With a sigh, she moves towards the front hall.
She sees him blocking the front door of their apartment, his tall, strong frame trapping her inside. She drops her bags, quickly pushing them behind her in a muddled heap. He frowns at her, crossing his arms. She watches his piercing eyes as he looks her up and down, noticing her shaking fingers and her too-broad smile. She twirls her ponytail and looks away, at their attempt at a garden out the window. She gazes at the few flowers, the tulips struggling to bloom, the dying primrose and aster, the gardenias suddenly sprouting out, and the willow creeping around the morning glories. He looks past her and sees her bags, two full duffle bags in addition to her red fake leather purse. As she notices his stare, her eyes widen, and she freezes in place. Seconds pass. Minutes.
He lowers his arms, his face crestfallen. She lets out a long sigh. He moves towards her, across the vast living room, in only a few strides. Her eyes dart to the door, the dark wood easy to spot amid the cream colored room. Now he sighs, places a palm on his forehead, and looks down at the pristine beige carpet.
She looks back and forth between her bags and the door, fixating her eyes on the coffee table with a broken base, the chair with an unstable leg, the crack in the ceiling, anything but him. All the things she had tried to fix, but couldn’t. He looks to her, trying to look her in the eye. She finally looks at him, her chest rapidly moving up and down, her eyes ready to pop out of their sockets.
He starts to move towards her, arms outstretched. She takes a step back. He edges forward. She takes a step back and trips over her bags. He reaches out and grabs her arm, which she yanks away. Her purse, which had sat on the top of her pile of bags, tumbles over, and out falls her ring of keys. She reaches for it, but he grabs it first. She notices his furrowed brows and reaches again for the keyring, opening her mouth to protest. His eyes widen, he gasps, and he jerks one key off the ring. He dangles it in the air, his body rigid and his jaw clenched. She looks away. He shakes the key in her face. She opens her mouth, then closes it again. Her lips begin to tremble. She forces herself to wipe the slinking tears off her face.
She opens her mouth to speak, but he shakes his head. He looks back at her bags, and then looks at the door. He throws his hands up in the air, then sits down on the couch, placing his head in his hands. He sees her walking towards him, but he shakes his head. He points to the door, his fingers shaking. Tears stream down her face, and she no longer tries to chase them away. She looks at her bags, she looks at the door, she looks at him. He doesn’t look at her.
The sound of the door closing breaks the silence.
She looks at the garden around her. Reaching down, she carefully holds a dying primrose, and watches the petals drift off of the asters. She turns, and through the window sees his head in his hands, his shoulders moving up and down in silent hiccups. She picks up her bags and walks down the path. As she places her hand on the gate, she sees the new gardenia plant coming to life. With a grin, she picks one, and leaves.