Ever the Same: Prologue
I'll only be half an hour.
That's what he had said as he gave me that notorious smile and slipped out the front door. He wouldn't listen when I told him not to go. He was stubborn, he was always like that.
After an hour I was left alone on the couch staring at the TV, but I wasn't watching it. I was too worried to care about was on the screen. I chewed my lip raw, pulling at my lip ring until the skin around it went numb. The only time I moved was to stand at the windows beside the door, staring out into the darkness praying that I would see that black car in the driveway or watch it pull up in the pouring rain.
It never did though.
I called his phone only to hear it ringing in the kitchen. I begged him to hurry up in the now colder room, but he never did. I grew restless and moved to lie down on the couch, turning off the TV, holding one of the pillows close to my face smelling his cologne that had managed to linger on it. It only made me want him home even more.
It wasn't until the phone rang, startling me in the darkness as I sat up and slid from my spot to race across the room. I had called his name as I answered, waiting to hear his voice on the other end apologizing for taking so long. There was no apologizing; there was no voice, only a sigh.
My mind couldn't process the news, but my heart new well enough how to react. My legs no longer had the strength to function as I fell against the counter, gripping tightly to hold me up as the man on the other end continued to explain. I couldn't breathe, couldn't move as I knelt down with the phone pressed against my ear.
Finally it was too much and I simply hung up letting it fall from my hand and crash to the floor. Staring at the door across the room as the news continued to sink in the tears finally fell. Only to say that they fell wouldn't describe the feeling of being smothered as I struggled to breathe and think while my eyes burned and the steady drips from my chin began to collect on the wooden floor.
Without much thought I managed to pull myself up and slowly walked down the hall, hands trailing along the walls to keep me steady before I fell towards the door and gripped tightly onto the doorknob. Turning it I pushed forward with my body and looked directly towards the smaller bed placed against the back wall. Breathing a sigh of relief when I saw the five year old little girl, who for the last three years had brought so much joy to our lives.
Walking along the now carpeted floor I wiped my face and sat down on the edge of her bed reaching out to run my hands through her hair. She stirred; rolling from her side onto her back and tiredly looked up at me with confused hazel eyes. She said nothing as she sat up and extended her arms, a small frown on her face telling me she knew something was wrong. I pulled her close, pressing my lips to her forehead as I looked at the walls covered in drawings that Gerard had made for her.
"Everything will be okay Daddy." Her words were quiet, muffled from being spoken against my chest. I wished with everything in that moment that she was right, but I knew that it wouldn't. She was too young to understand, too young to have this ripped away from her.
I'll only be half an hour.
But he was never coming home.