I watched from the back seat as people walked into the courthouse.
I watched, and yet I didn’t see them. Blurred from tears clinging to my eyes. Tears I didn’t want the woman sitting next to me to see. If I only closed my eyes I could hide from the world, but closing them would push tears from my eyes, and then she’d know.
She’d know I still cared. That I still loved.
Not that it mattered any longer.
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Green flickered on the dash. The neon clock shifted, the time a sword to my back. A dagger to my throat. A gun to my heart. Every new minute the weapon of choice pushed harder. Deeper.
Soon it would be me walking into the courthouse. Would I be able to see? Would the moisture from my eyes clear? Or would whatever tears I hadn’t shed over the past weeks empty themselves?
A hand on my shoulder. Her hand. A hand I’d felt a million times over. A hand I’d held. A hand I’d kissed. I’d interlaced my fingers with hers when we were intimate. Palms sweating, muscles tightening.
But now, it was just a hand. A weight to nudge me awake. To hold me against the sword.
"Hold out your hand," she said.
I did so without questioning. Extending it to her. Something I’d done so many times. To pull her up. To lean on her. I offered her my hand, one final time. One final time as husband and wife.
I felt the slightest weight drop into my palm. I knew without looking what it was. The weight of a thousand dreams. A million hopes. Infinite possibilities. We just happened on the possibility I hadn’t hoped or dreamed of.
Through the foggy vale of tears shielding my eyes, there it lay. Her engagement ring. The luster now gone. Dragged out of it with the loss of our relationship. Forever gone. Never to return.
"It’s time to go inside."
"I want it back."
"You’re a real piece of s**t, you know that?"
The Facebook message pinged on my computer.
A message from my wife’s best friend. The friend I’d never met in person, because she didn’t travel for the wedding. But then none of her friends travelled for the wedding.