Why Did They Make Me So Angry?

Although I was the first one awake again the following morning, I stayed in bed, not in the mood to make breakfast as I had the previous morning. As I lay there thinking about the hike and the evening at the cabin the anger I’d felt returned. All I had wanted from the trip was some time with people who mattered. My friends were practically forcing me to choose between them and Clay. And he hadn’t been much better.

I wished I’d never come.

When I noticed movement on the other side of the bed I snapped my eyes shut and pretended to be asleep. I wasn’t ready to face him, not prepared to rehash the argument from last night.

Why couldn’t they all get along, even if it were only for my sake? They didn’t have to move in with him, just accept that he was important to me even if they hadn’t been able to see all his wonderful qualities? No one was perfect all the time. And why couldn’t he treat them as kindly as he treated me? He seemed almost jealous but I couldn’t figure out why.

When he scooted against my back I remained rigid, refusing to relax as I normally did. I knew in time I would get over this feeling, but in that moment I allowed myself to just be irritated with all of them, fully believing it was justified.

Perhaps sensing something was wrong, he whispered, “Are you awake?”

When I didn’t respond he lifted himself on one elbow to peer at me over my shoulder. My eyes remained squeezed tightly closed, but I suppose it was obvious I wasn’t sleeping. He pressed down on my left shoulder, rolling me onto my back. I angled my head to the right, keeping my face turned away from him.

“Look at me,” he commanded. Reluctantly I did as he instructed, unsure what compelled me to always do as he wanted.

“I’m sorry I upset you. When we get back home I’ll make it up to you.” His attempt to placate me fell short. I wasn’t ready to forgive him right then. I wasn’t willing to let my friends off the hook either.

“It’s fine,” I replied in a tone that indicated things were anything but fine. I didn’t want to give him the opportunity to apologize again. His weak attempt just fueled my hostility. Even though I had no interest in eating I suggested we get up to have breakfast. I pushed back the covers and stood. He reached for my hand but I turned just before he could grab it, pretending I didn’t see his effort to keep me in bed.

After I got dressed, I stormed down the stairs. Then, making a last minute decision I headed out the front door, letting it slam behind me.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Placate and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after I Was As Angry As the Bubbles in the Hot Tub.

I Silently Prayed This Time My Feelings Wouldn’t Be Unrequited

My one-bedroom apartment had never seemed smaller or more run down than it did when I opened the door with Clay standing beside me. I had always felt there was a quaint charm to the eclectic mix of furnishings. Almost nothing was new, but I told myself that made these treasures even more special. Each had a story, a history even if it wasn’t mine.

Now, seeing my home through Clay’s eyes, I was embarrassed.

The faded couch had been donated by my father when I first moved in years ago, claiming he had planned to get a new one anyway. On the opposite wall a tiny TV perched precariously on top of a rickety stand I had purchased at a used furniture store. The coffee table which I had found at a yard sale had been refinished years ago and was beginning to show wear, at least on the parts not covered by papers and books.

Passing the windowless galley kitchen, we made our way to my cramped bedroom. What floor space wasn’t filled by the full-sized bed, bureau and nightstand was cluttered with discarded clothes waiting to be taken to the laundry room in the basement. Carefully opening the packed closet to avoid an avalanche, I shifted bags and boxes until I was able to pull out the suitcase I’d been searching for.

I felt self-conscious as Clay watched me from my unmade bed. I was suddenly unsure how much to bring. I didn’t want to assume his invitation to spend another night meant he wanted me to stay indefinitely. In the past I’d mistaken passing interest for more, fallen too quickly for the wrong men, only discovering too late they were using me. Here I was with a virtual stranger, wondering if I were making the same mistake again, yet staying here alone now seemed too depressing to bear.

Possibly sensing my uncertainty, he suggested casually, “Why don’t you bring enough to stay through the weekend. The festival will have fun events every night and it will be a nice getaway for you.” Did I imagine the patronizing tone when he said this? I couldn’t deny that my dingy apartment was nothing compared to his spectacular beach house, but it was my home.

This train of thought was interrupted when he added, “Besides, it would give me a chance to finish what I started this morning.”

The flirtatious smirk on his face brought back the eagerness I’d felt earlier. My breath caught in my chest as I remembered the feeling of his breath on my skin. Longing filled me again at the memory of his touch. My face flushed as I imagined how amazing it would be to give myself freely to this amazing man.

Suddenly in a hurry to leave, I quickly filled my bag, hoping I wasn’t forgetting anything. Dashing into the bathroom I grabbed a toothbrush and other toiletries, tossing them into a small bag before stuffing it in among the other items.

As I zipped the suitcase closed Clay stood and stepped close to me, resting his hand on top of mine on the bag’s handle. I looked up into his eyes, silently praying this time my growing feelings wouldn’t be unrequited.

Cupping my cheek with his free hand, he bent down to give me a tender kiss that made me believe this time everything was going to be okay.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Unrequited and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after How Could I Say No When He Desperately Wanted Me to Stay?.

What Is the Meaning of the Magnolia Tree?

I was honestly surprised by his sensitivity. How could he comprehend how meaningful the magnolia tree was to me?

Without looking at him I slowly began my story. “My mother’s parents lived on a plantation in Georgia. Magnolia trees would bloom each spring and every day while they were in bloom my grandmother would give my mom a single flower to remind her how beautiful she was.” I paused, choking on the pain the rest of the story raised in me.

Softly he finished for me, “And then she did the same for you, until she passed away.”

As uncontrollable sobs defeated my composure I could do nothing but nod. He pulled me into his arms and I was grateful for his strength. He held me tightly, resting his cheek on top of my head. We didn’t speak; there was no need.

Eventually he guided me to a bench that faced the tree. With his arm around me I rested my head on his shoulder, my gaze turned to the tree but emotions flourished within me. Thoughts of my parents, memories of the happy days when I was a child danced through my mind. An image of my mother sitting beside me on my bed as she handed me my first magnolia flower, her arm around me as she told me how beautiful I was both on the outside and the inside.

Then came the montage of events that led to the end, her cancer diagnosis, the years she spent fighting, suffering. I recalled the surgeries to replace her joints as the illness attacked her relentlessly, first her hip then her shoulder. I saw my dad pushing her in a wheelchair through the gardens she had loved, a magnolia tree holding a place of honor in the center. Then finally I felt the anguish we had shared when she passed, the healing when we planted a tree in her honor in the local park.

I had been an adult by the time she died, a woman, almost 30. She had battled cancer for half my life, yet even when she was at her weakest she would still send me a flower, sometimes an image in an email or a text after I had moved out on my own, but still it would come every day, reminding me she thought I was beautiful.

Her strength and her courage were inspirational, making her death even more unbearable. Even though she had been gone for nearly 7 years the pain could be crushing at times. Without her I felt adrift and uncertain. My father did his best, but there was no replacing the bond I had with her.

“You are just as beautiful as she told you,” he stated, reading my thoughts.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Sensitivity and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after What Is So Upsetting About a Magnolia Tree?.

Tuesday Photo Prompt

The Word of the Day Challenge is expanding to include a photo prompt on Tuesdays. Feel free to join in!

Word of the Day Challenge

Use my above photo to get creative  … write a poem, prose, flash fiction, etc.

OR

Take this opportunity to display your own photo, artwork or sketches on a similar theme.

Please complete before next Tuesday using a pingback to link your post. Not sure how to do that then see how to create pingbacks here.

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Bravely Living an Amazing Life!