Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)
TITLE: The Forgotten
By Chris Clement
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Something was wrong.
Chad turned slowly, but he did not face me. His trance continued and he did not speak.
Minutes passed as I stared at him waiting for an answer. Then he looked down and breathed in as if reconciling himself to his task.
"This is not going to be easy."
My skin grew cold and I felt a hard thump in my chest. My hands moved to the arms of the chair as if the world were about to fall underneath me.
"I'm not sure how to say this so I'll just say it. I'm leaving...for a while."
My voice left and my mind locked in confusion. I looked at him blankly, unable to understand. He saw shock in my eyes and his own turned down betraying his shame.
I forced the words out weakly. "How long?"
His eyes still stared down, unable to look at me. He shook his head.
"I don't know, Trish."
He did not answer.
"You have to talk to me." I felt anger flash across my face.
He looked up. "We both knew this was coming."
I nodded toward Tina. "You're leaving us?”
He nodded. "It's better for her. We do nothing but fight."
"When you are here, we fight about you never being here." I shook my head as my chin fell to my chest.
"I'm not going to rehash our fights, Trish." He turned away.
Then the reason came to me. I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and asked the question I dreaded to ask.
"Are you going to live with her?"
I opened my eyes and saw the dismay form across his face. He began to speak and then stopped and bowed his head again. His silence confirmed my fear. He was having an affair.
My face tightened and my lips turned down as I tried in vain to muffle the erupting emotions from pouring out. Tears streamed down my face. I pulled my hands across my chest and hugged my shoulders to break the feeling of nakedness that was washing over me. I was like a turtle turned upside down in the baking sun, helpless and alone.
Then I heard sobbing echoing my own. I looked up and saw Tina standing in front of the swing set staring at me as she cried.
I drew a deep breath and nodded in her direction. "Chad."
Chad turned, saw Tina, and walked to her. He knelt beside her and told her everything was ok and to go inside. She continued to cry, without knowing why, as she walked by, staring at my streamed face.
"It's ok." I murmured to her and held her hand briefly. I told her I would be in shortly and I watched her walk inside the house and close the door.
"I have to do this, Trish. It's better..."
I stood and slapped his face before he could finish. "It's not better for anyone except you! It's all about you!" I screamed, releasing the rage building inside. My strength left as quickly as it came and I wilted again in tears.
I looked away from him and shook my head, still crying. "I hope she’s worth it.” I turned back, stared intently into his eyes. “I hope she’s worth both of us.” I motioned with a quick glance towards the house.
He did not respond. A canyon lay between us as I looked at him, feeling as if I were talking to a stranger.
"Trish…." He said, finally.
"Go." I wiped the tears from my cheeks as my hands trembled. "Just go."
He looked down and slowly walked past me to the gate leading to the driveway and opened it.
“Chad.” I said softly as I turned.
He stopped and looked at me.
"I’ll pray for you. We used to be everything to you. I’ll pray that you remember.”
He did not answer. He paused and then walked out the gate. I turned away, cupped my hands around my face, and felt them catch flowing tears.
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