Megan Prevost studies Creative Writing in Florida. Her work has appeared in The Beacon. In her free time, she likes to cry over stray cats and take pictures of lighthouses. You can follow her on twitter @megpre_23
His voice was just above a whisper but I heard it like a scream and a slap to the face.
“I’m leaving you,” he said it again like I hadn’t heard it the first time. His voice was quiet, sure, but I could still feel the venom spilling from his lips. It was the softness to his anger that made me shiver.
I couldn’t find it inside myself to argue. I stood there like a statue, turned to rock by his medusa gaze. I never knew how to speak to him. I could never get my words out without him overreacting. And fine, he was calm now, and to the normal eye there was no threat in sight, but I knew. I knew enough not to make him angry but there was some piece of me that always clicked out of place and did it anyways.
My stone face tried to hide my emotions, my tears would only be gasoline for his already ignited fire. A few tears betrayed me, slipping down my cheeks. This turned his sullen look into one of annoyance.
“Can’t you say something?” he said.
This is how things always started between us. He paused, crossing his arms over his chest and staring me down like I was nothing. To him, I really was nothing. I didn’t understand why he loved me. Or I guess, maybe he didn’t, not anymore.
I opened my mouth to speak but I couldn’t find the words fast enough.
He threw his hands into the air, shaking his head at me. “I’m leaving, and you have nothing to say.”
Actually, there were so many things I wanted to say, but none of it was what he wanted to hear. I wanted to tell him that I stopped wanting him to stay months ago when he started yelling. I wanted to tell him that there had been so many times that I had almost told him to leave. I wanted to tell him that I was glad he was finally leaving on his own because I never would have had the guts to tell him myself. I wanted to tell him I was excited. I wanted to tell him that I was happy.
If I really wanted to make him angry I could tell him all of those things out loud. But my out loud voice was never as confident as the one in my head and every time I tried to stand my ground it took him point zero three seconds before walking all over me. He was always quick to put me in my place, something I’m sure he enjoyed.
“You’re just going to let me leave?” he said. He stared at me, arms crossed.
I remembered a time where I would fight with him. When I could stand my ground and yell right back in his face. It was something he easily took away from me. Remembering the girl I used to be was something I never liked to think about. He had torn me down and never given me a chance to get back up.
I could feel his hot gaze on mine.
“I can’t believe this,” he said.
I wasn’t sure what was so unbelievable. This was the same fight, he would say something and I would hide myself away in fear of him. And he would yell. And he would keep yelling until there was nothing left of me to yell at. The fight would start standing, but somehow, I would always end up on the floor.
“Just go,” I said. I felt the words leave my lips before I could think about them. I knew that they were a mistake but there was nothing I could do to take them back. He didn’t take the words lightly, his reaction turned from angry to ablaze.
“Ah, she speaks,” he said. His sour tongue twisted around his words. They made me flinch away from him, my body quick to take a step back. Every part of me knew the routine but my mind.
She does speak. I wanted to spit my words back at him. There was no part of me that was angry enough for this. I went into defense mode. My inner voice was confident, she does speak and she’s not afraid of you, but the real me, she would never say those things out loud.
He inched closer to me and I took a step back, finding myself against a wall. My head turned to look away from him, his breath cutting through the air between us.
“You want me to leave, tell me to leave,” he said.
“Come on, where’s that brave girl from two seconds ago?” he said. He put his hand on my shoulder, while that might have looked like a nice gesture to anyone looking in, I knew better.
I turned my head so my eyes were just catching on his.
“You already packed your bags, why are you trying to stay?” I said, my voice small.
He pushed his hand harder against my shoulder for a brief second before pulling away. He looked disgusted with me, like I was somehow the one who had done something wrong. Like maybe in his world I was the monster.
“It’s just so much fun to mess with you, Lily,” he said. “You’re always so quick to tear up.”
I wiped my face, I wouldn’t let that satisfy him.
“Get out,” I said. My razor tongue was much less impressive than his was.
He shrugged his shoulders, walking away from me. “I’ll see you again sometime,” he said, picking up his bags from the floor. He made sure to linger around as long as possible before sneaking out the front door.
I sunk to the floor once he was out of sight. The door wide open. I leaned my head back against the wall and sighed heavily. It wasn’t long before the tears stopped falling. Soon, they turned into relief.