The break-up

The first thing that hit him when he stepped into the condo was the feeling of something missing. Then his eyes fell on the note. A small piece of white cardboard paper, left there, in plain sight, on the old sideboard in the hallway. His eyes swept around the room, the apartment felt strangely empty. He looked at the note again and hesitated a moment before finally walking up to it. He slowly grabbed the white rectangle and read its content.

William, you have been my greatest love, you are my greatest love and you will probably remain so my whole life. Know that I love you more than anything, truly. But it can’t go on like this, I cannot bear your breakdowns, your bursts of anger, your dark thoughts and all those moments when you don’t seem to live anymore. I cannot bear the thousand wounds you try to cover with your excuses and your apologies, before reopening them the next instant. I know that deep down you are a good person, I truly believe it, but something in you is broken, something I am not sure I could ever repair… I know that I am probably breaking your heart right now but I can’t go on like this, I don’t have the strength anymore. My love for you doesn’t seem sufficient so I have decided to leave. Don’t look for me, I don’t want you to find me. That is the only way to prevent us both from going crazy…

Good bye.

The note was written with blue ink in a thin and gracious cursive. No signature, no name. No need, he though. His hand was shaking as he put it back on the wooden piece of furniture, he could feel his eyes tearing up. He pressed his back to the wall of the hallway and let himself sink down to the floor, his shoulders shaking as if trying to dance away the pain that was rising in his chest. He couldn’t believe it. Was all this real? Was it really the end? After years of love and hardships that they had endured… What had happened for them to let things get to that point? He remained on the ground for a long time, not trying to keep his tears from flowing and his chest from hurting. Only the faint rumbling of water through the walls, sometimes interrupted by his humid hiccups, filled the apartment, now devoid of half the stuff it used to house.

When he finally managed to get up again it seemed as if an eternity had passed, his legs felt heavy and weak. Slowly, giving time to his weary heart to pump enough blood to wake them up, he walked towards the bedroom; the bed was made, the curtains were drawn. Only the pale light of the winter sun managed to light it up a little. On the nightstands stood two small lamps, and on the wall a painting, relic of a distant time that they had found during a garage sale. Despite all of this, the room seemed eerily empty. He had trouble realizing that it was true, that it was over, that this emptiness would now be an integral part of the five-room condo…

He opened the closet, it was only half-full: suits, shirts and trousers. The rest had vanished. The jeans, the colored tops, the scarves and even the fancy underwear, nothing remained. The emotion once again took over him, he only managed to keep the sorrow at bay with the greatest of efforts as he closed the thin door before walking out of the room. He went through each of the rooms, shooting a quick look around. The result was always the same: empty, devoid of part of the stuff that used to fill them. His breathing was ragged and his heart felt like it was beating a thousand times per second when he found himself in the hallway again. The the fight came back to him in a flood of emotions, like a coup de foudre. Or, rather, the opposite.

He had almost been violent. Almost. He would have never dared, he knew it, and yet… The darkness in his eyes left no doubt as to the anger that boiled in side. He might even have surrendered to it and let it out, had he not seen the frightened expression and understood how scary he must have appeared… He had frozen on the spot, staying there, looking lost and powerless as his love walked away into the night. He hadn’t even shown a reaction when he had seen the silhouette turn around halfway. Perhaps he hadn’t wanted to do anything, uncertain he could even forgive himself…? Or perhaps he knew then, perhaps they had both understood what that moment meant?

Had he gone for a walk, or had he remained stuck there, on the sidewalk, for hours before coming home? He didn’t know. All he knew was that when he had come home he had found the apartment empty, not unlike today, but not of its furniture, rather of any human presence, the presence that had become so familiar over the years. Surely he had tried to call as soon as he had been back – the twelve missed calls were unmistakable evidence – before finally letting sadness and weariness overwhelm him. The next morning, night having gone away and his love still not back, he had gone to work, leaving the apartment empty and free for the whole day.

Once back in the corridor he cast another look at the note. He felt tears well up once again and, with a visible effort, fought them back. He read  once more, as if to cement the reality and the truth of what was happening in his mind and in his heart, to make sure that this was indeed what was left of them, of what they had been. Goodbye. The word echoed in his mind. It was over, the end. No tearful parting, no sobbing hug, not more fight. Not even a signature. No need, all had been said. Goodbye. It sounded so false, so empty in his mind, faint echoes in an infinite void… He remained like this for a moment, unmoving, staring at the note between his fingers. Finally he let out a sigh. No, despite everything, he deserved at least that. Alex took out the blue pen from his pocket again and wrote his name under the last word in an elegant cursive writing despite his trembling hand. He put the small rectangle of white cardboard paper on the top of the sideboard and, shooting one last look at the apartment, now empty of his belongings but still full of so many memories, before closing the door behind him.


A translation of this one: La rupture.

I feel that it could be improved, perhaps it remains too unclear… The goal is to incite a second reading but, has it been accomplished in a good way? I don’t know, time will tell.

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