Art by Jill Battaglia

“He was supposed to protect me,” she thought with angry tears in her eyes as the rain fell hard against the windows of her car. That singular thought swirling over and over in her mind like creamer in coffee. “He was supposed to protect me.”

But he didn’t. He had left her. He abandoned her. And he gave no indication that he had any capacity left to care for her at all. In that moment, she couldn’t ever remember feeling so alone.

The days prior had been filled with mixed messages. One day he wrote in a text that he had the papers ready for her to sign and he hoped they could “still be friends.” Then, two days later he sent another text message that read “Good Morning Beautiful.”

When she tried to talk to him about it over dinner at a local diner, he got defensive – so she promptly changed the subject. She knew then that it was over, one way or another. Her heart felt like it was breaking into another thousand pieces. It wasn’t just for the loss of her husband. It was for the loss of all the hopes and dreams they had shared. The loss of their baby. The loss of their home. She was alone again for the first time in years and she felt it acutely.

They would never again hold hands. Never again would they go out to a movie or see a play. She would never pack him another lunch or tuck a note inside to brighten his workday. He would never come home to her again. And she would never again wash his dirty socks. No more fights. No more laughs. No more tears. It was really over. Even though it had been a long time in the making, in this moment with the rain pouring down she felt the pain like it was the first time he walked out their door with his bags packed.

She had told him that she no longer see any reason to keep living. He stared back at her in silence. He might as well have told her to end it all right there in front of him. But he did what he always did when times got tough – nothing. He did nothing. When she needed him to be there the most, he said nothing, did nothing, was nothing.

And that is what he left her with.


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