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Monday, May 27, 2013

Moving On

Sitting across from him, she struggled with the words she'd rehearsed in those restless hours of the night. Telling him was going to be decidedly harder than breaking it to the bathroom mirror. She'd considered doing it in a letter, but after eight years and recent circumstances, that seemed ... callous.

It's not you, she'd planned to say. It was true. He'd been wonderful to her. But marriage and a baby in quick succession had changed things, changed her, in ways she hadn't anticipated.

"I can't stay," she blurted.

His eyes searched hers for several seconds. Her cheeks burned, but--desperate to appear resolute--she returned his stare.

"You're leaving us?"

She nodded slowly. "I have to."

"I ... I don't wanna lose you," he said rather dispassionately. "But I can't say I'm surprised."

His nonchalance stung. You're not going to fight for me? Beg me not to go? 

And then it sunk in. He melted into his chair, his face contorted.

"What am I gonna do without you?"

Did his voice crack? She resisted the urge to squeeze his hand.

She'd seen him cry before--a month ago, after his mother died. On his first day back following bereavement leave, they'd gone to lunch. He broke down over steak and bleu cheese salad. They sat in the car while he tried to pull himself together. Her heart ached for him. He was good-enough looking, yet she wasn't attracted to him, not even when she was single. But that day, in a confusion of grief and sympathy, they kissed.

Working one-on-one was torturously awkward now. She felt exposed in department meetings, as if anyone could just look at them and know. At home she rarely mentioned work, fearful her husband would somehow sense her guilt. She'd been thinking about staying home with her daughter for a while. The kiss sealed the deal.

"Well," he conceded. "Would you please write up a formal letter of resignation for your file?"

"Yes, sir," she smiled somberly.

#

trifecta weekly challenge: The entry must be 33-333 words and include the word "appear" (defined as to have an outward aspect: seem). Mine is 333 words.

25 comments:

  1. The first time I read this, I saw "life" as the word in the next to last line, the second time through I saw the word you typed "file" and it changed the entire meaning for me. Interesting read, both times.

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    1. Hmmm ... that does change things, doesn't it? Thanks for the kind words. :)

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  2. Awesome not the ending I was expecting at all

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  3. Ah... that's kind of reversed pink slip....

    usually this is hard

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    1. Reverse pink slip--I like that. :) Thanks for reading!

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  4. Ah, a twist! I hope she finds what she's looking for. I'm thinking staying at home with the kid is not going to be the solution she thinks it's going to be. Next stop: mail man. :-) Thanks for linking up.

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    1. Yes, I think she's in for a rude awakening. Thanks for reading!

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  5. I like the way you set this up. Nicely written.

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Thank you so much. Love your blog, by the way. :)

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  6. I love a good twist. Great job.

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  7. Ah, I like the twist you put in there. I fell for the set up and thought she was walking away from her marriage. Probably best to leave the temptation, but she might find herself restless at home. Perhaps another job...with a female boss? :)

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    1. Thank you! I tried a twist last week. Don't think it worked as well, so I really wanted to see if I could pull it off in a mere 333 words.

      A female boss is definitely the way to go for her. :)

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  8. Wasn't expecting that ending. Great work with the prompt!

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  9. Ahh! A most unexpected ending. Strong lady that seems a little rattled by the unwelcome affection. Great take on the prompt.

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  10. Elegant duality with a fine twist!

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  11. Beautifully executed! Love the twist, love how well you conveyed both their emotions.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind feedback! I had fun writing this one. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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