Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 40

She was now sitting very erect. When I looked up from my hands she looked horrified, alert. “But I love you. I love you every day.”

I was trying to stay composed. “It's just not fair to you, or to me, to keep going when I don't think we have enough of a spark to sustain.”

She stood up suddenly. Now her face was wet. “Is this it? You've already made a decision?” I nodded. “How long have you been thinking this?” Now her voice was sharp.

“A couple of weeks. I don't know. Recently.”

“I kept asking you, What's wrong, What's wrong, and you said nothing.”

“There is nothing wrong.”

Then why are you doing this?” She was starting to sob. “This is so . . . so . . . unilateral.”

I stood up and reached an arm out to her, but she pulled back and stopped crying suddenly. She seemed to literally swallow her own tears. Not thwarted I moved forward, but she stepped back, holding up her hands defensively. She shook her head, her face crumpling up. “Don't. Don't.” She grabbed her cell phone and purse off the front table and headed for the stairs that led down to the front door.

“Please, wait, talk to me.” She started down the stairs, but she had a lead on me because I paused to slip on my shoes. The fucked up stairs. It was one thing on the renovation to-do list we had not gotten to yet. One of the stairs was crooked and three of them were a slightly different height than the others. There was a horrible cluttering sound and I realized that she had fallen down halfway. My shoes on, but untied, I peered down the stairway to see her getting up, wiping her face with one arm.

She was opening the front door blindly, and I could see she was limping terribly. “Esme, stop, you're hurt.” But she kept going, hobbling quickly down the wrought iron stairs at the front of the house―there were six leading down to the sidewalk, then the street. “Stop! Let me take you to

40 | Psychopomp Magazine