Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)
TITLE: Love as an Emotion
By nicole wian
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Olivia blinked, shocked. “What?” she asked.
“Olivia, you heard me. This can't be a surprise to you.” He shook his head, disgustedly.
Olivia's mind was reeling. It was a surprise to her. But maybe it shouldn't have been. Things had been strange for a while now. They had not been connecting lately. In fact, Karl was gone most of the time, but she'd thought he'd just been consumed with work. She thought this had been merely a phase their marriage was going through. She knew that all marriages went through up and downs. But suddenly he didn't love her anymore? Pushing through her shock, she asked to clarify, “You don't love me anymore?”
Karl sighed, as if annoyed by the question. “Olivia, I'll always love you. I'm just not in love anymore.”
Olivia said nothing for a while and then finally ventured, “Well, so what?”
Her voice shook, and she was embarrassed at what she'd said but she continued anyway. “People don't necessarily stay in love forever, but that doesn't mean, you leave the marriage.”
Karl stood from their kitchen table and heaved another sigh. “Don't you get it, Liv? I'm in love with someone else. It's been going on for a while. I just can't hide it anymore. It's not fair to her. Or to you.”
And then he started to ramble about these feelings, these emotions he felt whenever he was with her, whoever 'her' was. He was talking fast, saying things about soulmate, and connection, and meant to be, but Olivia couldn't listen. She was racking her brain, asking herself how she could not have seen this happening. Tears came to her eyes, and she felt pitiful. She looked at Karl, pacing, trying to explain the unexplainable and she knew she should want to hit him, but she didn't. She just wanted him to look at her and see the pain he was causing. She wanted him to come to his senses, recognize their marriage, for goodness sake. But he didn't.
When he was done with his speech, he left the room. Olivia, however, didn't move from the table. She stared at the tablecloth through blurry eyes for what seemed to be an hour until finally, Karl came from the bedroom with packed bags and without saying goodbye, left the house and their life together.
It had been three years since Karl had left Olivia for Tesia and now as Tesia packed her bags, Karl sat helplessly on their couch. She had announced today that she had fallen “out of love” with him. He had seen it coming, but had tried to deny it to himself, desperately hanging onto their relationship, to convince himself that he hadn't been wrong in leaving Olivia. Now he had no one. He was alone with only himself to blame. He knew he deserved it after the pain he had cause his wife. He had been so heartless. He'd moved in immediately with Tesia, filing for divorce without further thought after that fateful conversation in their kitchen. But Olivia hadn't signed the papers for months. He had been so frustrated with her, thought she was pathetic. It was only too late he had come to realize that she had truly loved him. That what she had been doing was fighting for their marriage. He hadn't cared then, but now would give anything to return to the way things were. Once, in those months when she was refusing to sign, when she would still attempt to call him at work, when she'd even written to him in defense of their marriage asking him to please consider counseling at their church, he'd asked her cruelly, with disbelief at her stubbornness, how she could still be in love with him.
She had responded, “ I'm not in love with you, Karl. Being in love makes you feel good and this doesn't feel good.” She had paused and then carefully said “But, I do love you. I'll always love you.”
He'd hurriedly ended the conversation then, but now looking back he knew she'd meant it, though he hadn't meant it when he'd said the same thing to her the day he left her. Finally, when Olivia had become convinced that his stubborn heart would not return to her, she'd signed the papers. She was seeing someone now, he'd heard. He had been a fool. And now it was too late.
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