Tears sprang to my eyes before I was able to stop them. I had to pull myself together. I could let fear and self-doubt debilitate me, or I could take control and find a way out of this mess. The music meant he had been there, but it didn’t mean he was still there. I could grab the keys and then drive out of town, find someplace quiet where I could make some decisions about the future.
I told myself I was strong enough, but somewhere deep within me a voice told me I’d never break free, that I was actually better off returning to him. Briefly I thought about the time I’d spent with Clay. Maybe I was overreacting. I didn’t fully understand what had happened the past few weeks. If I went back he could explain what I’d found. He had always been able to ease my mind when I had been confused or scared.
Too afraid to be heard, I merely thought the word instead of screaming it. Still, it was enough to drown the chatter in my mind. I would get away, and then think through what was going on. I couldn’t do that here. I wouldn’t be able to think clearly with reminders of Clay everywhere. Somehow things had gotten out of control. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but something wasn’t right. And knowing he had been in my apartment when I wasn’t there felt like a violation. Maybe the problem was me in the end, but I wouldn’t be able to figure that out standing there on my stoop, and letting Clay confuse matters once again wasn’t going to solve anything.
Regaining my courage I pushed open the door and was shocked by the display in front of me. Magnolia blossoms had been spread across my dining table; an envelope with my name written in Clay’s tight scrawl lay propped against the hurricane lamp that held a flickering candle in the center.
With trembling fingers I ripped open the letter, anxious to know what was inside. I unfolded the thick stationary and read:
It doesn’t have to be this way. I love you. You belong with me. Come home.
Confusion swept through me as I read the words, “I love you.” Was this love? Maybe. I had never actually been in love, although a few times in the past I had mistaken infatuation for love. The word replayed in my mind, over and over. Love. Love.
Feeling light-headed I sat in one of the hard, wooden chairs at the table, my eyes fixed on the candle. I watched the wax drip down the sides as the word continued to beat in my mind. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.
This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after The Beautiful Music Was Eerie in My Apartment.