She saw him coming. Walking alone on the sidewalk. She sat alone.
There was an older lady drinking coffee across the room. And no one else. She put her head down. He opened the door.
She could feel him. For the last hour she could feel him. As he made his way through the city. But she didn’t want to see him. His feet scraped the floor. He pulled the chair out. He sat down.
She could smell him. His breath in the air around her now. A scent of toothpaste in the wind. It was the tube she bought him. She looked at her hands. The aging hands. A broken love line.
He didn’t say a word.
But she could see his hands on the table. They were bold. And strong hands. She loved those hands so much. And now they were removing their ring. He put it on the table. She rolled hers around like a barrel in a river. Over and over and over. And she was drowning inside.
Take the ring off her mind whispered. Then louder, and louder and louder. Until it was all she could hear. But she wanted everyone else to be gone. The older lady drank her coffee and folded her newspaper. As the door thudded close behind her they were alone.
Years ago she had read a book. It was called “Breakup.” A beautiful and tragic story of love. All those years ago, when she never imagined this moment. The perfect wedding in the redwoods, yes. The children born a year apart, yes. Having a husband who could support her art, yes. And support her as a stay home mother.
The children flashed before her eyes. One of college, one in the Marines and one traveling in Europe. The nest was empty. And she was going to have to learn to fly again. Fly like the bird she never had been.
She took the ring. She slid it off her finger. She looked at his hands. Then again at her own. It looked naked without his ring. But it was done. The ring was on the table. He tried to reach out to her, for a moment. But the moment passed so quick. The fear, the pain, the sadness were so real to her. She missed the moment and he was gone.
Years ago under an oak tree they planned their lives. They even planned this day. Though she didn’t imagine it was real. Like when they planned to be rich. Or when they planned to star in their own movie. But this wasn’t a happy movie. The stars of the film have not been true to their roles. The husband has been hard working and supportive. But not loving and caring. The wife, a nurturing and attentive mother. But she forgot how to be a friend.
He found a friend some place else. And she found love with someone else. Now their rings are on the table. The paper work has been signed. They’ll sell the rings and give the money to the children. They are grown and on their own adventures now.
There is dirt under my nail, she thought. And the door thudded in the back of her mind. Where would she go now?