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Fell on Black Days by Pilar

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Chapter Notes

The song "Division Day" is by the phenomenal Elliott Smith...
there was a grown man dying from fright
so surprised at the things he'd say
with a giant fantasy life
running 'round on feet of clay
naked except for a perpetual death
and i'm right to prove wrong
it moved him along closer to division day
I spent a long time living with that
never could give it a name
and when you don't know what you're looking at
makes it much harder to tame
mostly they'd meet when he was asleep and
have some sick exchange
that struck him as wrong
and moved him along closer to division day
I can't make an exception for a bad connection
that only goes one way
sell out for a song where I don't belong
with you on division day
the moon stood up on the ridge
looking down where the water shines
and a man looking over the bridge
like he'd done so many times
thinking about how to stay out
out of trouble's way
flying to fall away from you all
it's over division day
beautiful division day


***

The weekends are the absolute worst, there's nowhere for me to hide. I wake up and I can't run to work to get away from everything here. I can try to bury myself in my office, but it only makes the tension between us greater. I wake to find myself on the sofa, my eyes taking a moment to adjust to the light. It's the first time that we've slept apart in years.

One year ago, she would have come and brought me back to bed. Two years ago, I never would have fallen asleep anywhere but in her arms. Then, her arms were a warm and tranquil place. Home. Now, her arms remind me that there's something desperately wrong.

If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this now.

I walk tentatively into the bedroom, but she's not there. The bed is made and the window shades are open, spilling sunlight into the room. She enters from the bath, a new resolve on her face. I'm terrified.

"You're leaving."

I nod at her weakly. I know that I need to explain, but as usual, I have nothing to offer her. There is a long stint of silence before either of us make a move to speak.

"What happened to us, Pacey?"

"I don't know." My voice is barely above a whisper.

Why can't I give her more than that? She would do it for me. I sit beside her on the bed, taking her lithe hand in mine and staring at it for a long time. She still wears my ring. I can't seem to bring my eyes to hers. I feel them sting with the promise of tears, as hers fall slowly.

Somewhere along the lines, we've lost track of each other. Maybe it was that we never gave each other a chance to be alone. Maybe we never gave each other a chance to be anything but together. Maybe I'm not giving her a chance now.

"I love you. You have to know that."

I am crying freely now, and I don't think that she's ever seen me this way. I had hoped that she never would.

"But?"

But, I have no idea.

"Things have changed. I've changed. Nothing feels right anymore. I'm sorry." My words are lame and I feel like I've rehearsed them a trillion times over the past few weeks. They sounded better before they came out of my mouth, less trite and less like a complete cop out. Now, they only seem like a lie, an excuse.

"Sorry? After almost ten years of marriage, you're sorry? And that's the best you can fucking do? You're sorry..." She hesitates for a moment before continuing, and I live to have an answer. "Pacey, we can work through this, we've been strong through worse times before. Please. We have to try."

I have tried. Her voice is desperate, she's grasping onto the only thing she has left. I bring my hands to her face and cradle it in my palms; her warm, wet skin sticking to mine. To look into my eyes, she can only see how miserable I am.

I know that she has to make the attempt, and I wish to God that her words could move me. But, I've heard them in my own voice, banging around my head for as long as I've been feeling this way. A long time. I don't even know how long it's been, but it feels like forever. The same forever that we'd promised to share. I remain unconvinced, and I don't think I can get it back.

"I can't." My impotent voice scratches my throat.

And I am sorry. I want more than anything to get beyond this unfathomable sense of loneliness I feel, this overwhelming need I have to be alone. The contradiction leaves me nauseous.

"So that's it? You're just going to leave?" Her words are staggered between soft sobs. She tries so hard to remain in control for me, but fails miserably.

I take her into my arms and hold onto her for dear life, as she tries to wriggle away. I need to feel her in my arms right now, if only because I may never have the chance again.

"I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry... I love you so much." I'm blubbering now, my voice disappearing thinly into her hair. I can feel my entire body shaking against her. She pushes me violently away.

"NO! I can't listen to you apologize to me anymore! Not if you're not going to do anything about it... Go!" Her voice lowers, "Just fucking go... I'm so tired."

I reach out for her again, but she runs from our bedroom. I won't follow her, not this time. I need to allow her the same space that I'm about to give myself. I've hurt her more than enough and I have to let her alone now. If I try to force her to do this my way, I'll only be torturing her more.

My way. Everything I've put her through has been my way. What right do I have to ask her for anything? How can I ask her for understanding, when I have no clue what the hell I'm doing? To run after her, to make her placate my bullshit, would only be for my benefit. I might be making a terrible mistake here. All said, I will never forgive myself for any of this.

Sitting on the edge of our bed, my head cupped in my hands, I know what I need to do.

I begin to pack my clothes. Even pulling my suitcase from the closet makes me want to throw up. I hadn't anticipated this pain in my chest, or that I would hate this process as much as I do. Somehow, I had been building up this moment as the one where I would finally feel okay, where I would finally feel free. But all I feel is like a grotesque interpretation of the man that I used to be, the man who loved his wife and wanted to be with her, as he had for more than half his days on this planet. Now I wish that this fucking planet would swallow me up whole. I never anticipated this process at all.

I kept trying to lie to myself, telling myself that it would never get to this point, that I would change the way that I felt. I think that I thought I would never really have the balls to leave. But here I am, packing my bags. I think I'm making a horrible mistake, one that I'll never be able to repair. But I don't want to stay either, because I don't feel right about anything.

What the hell is feeling right, anyway?

Every article of clothing haunts me. Here's the sweater that I wore when she graduated from school. Here are the pants that she bought me when we had to go to that office picnic and she wouldn't let me wear those ratty jeans.

She's come back to the bedroom and watches me pack from the chair near the window. I suppose that she has to, for the same reasons that I have to do this now. It's finally becoming real.

I can't look at her.

I can't breathe.

***

When my suitcases are at the door and the silence in the house is loud enough to burst my eardrums, I go back to her. I won't apologize to her again, it has no purpose. But I can't walk out the door without something. I simply go to her. I kneel before her and look into her pain-filled eyes.

"I won't pretend to understand this. I wish that I could, but I don't think that I ever will." She puts her hands on my face now, and I feel my eyes begin to fill up with tears again. I had promised myself that I wouldn't cry. I can't bring myself to tell her that I don't understand it any more than she does.

"I love you, Pacey."

"I love you too."

"But it's not enough, is it?"

"God. I wish it was..."

My words trail off. My legs are rubber beneath the weight of my body. My world is crashing down around me and I don't have the strength or the wherewithall to do anything about it. Everything is my fault, I only hope that eventually I can find the power to pick up the fragments. Maybe even before it's too late. The door is calling me to walk through it.

She stands and helps me to my feet, silently forcing me to make my move. I don't want to prolong this any more than I have already. Every passing second kills her further. Every passing second makes me weaker. Every passing second makes her hate me more.

We stop at the door and I pick up my bags, taking one last look around me, at what I'm leaving behind. My eyes linger on our vase, perched alone on the mantle. She follows my line of vision. I touch my fingers to her lips and say nothing, turning and walking out the door. Walking out of my life.

***

Barely a mile away, I know that I've done the right thing for both of us.

Ten miles away, I try to quell my regrets.

One hundred miles away, I need to hear her voice. I won't call. I won't make this any worse than it already is. I'm so sorry.

At a gas station, in a town I have no idea where, I feel better for the first time. Not good, just better. Better that I've released both of us from the misery that's been encompassing us, the stagnation that had become our lives together. I think that I'm finally going to be alright. I think that she's finally going to be able to understand, and repair the pieces that I had shattered from the whole.

I sit down on a rock in the sun on the side of the road, and I cry. Long and hard.

I can breathe.

***

The end.


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