It was all I could do to keep my eyes focused on the nest in the tree outside. But I knew that if I didn’t focus, I’d lose my self-control. He just wouldn’t stop trying to explain and I was on the verge of a complete meltdown.
“What would you do if you were in my position?” He paused and I could feel his eyes boring into the side of my head. “C’mon Jill, look at me. We’ve been through too much to end it like this.”
My hands aimlessly buried themselves in my dog’s fur over and over. If he truly looked at me, he’d see all the things I was doing to maintain control. “Such soft fur. What a good boy. He loves me no matter what.” I repeated to myself over and over as I stroked the soft black and white fur.
“Jill,” his voice breaking through my calming repetition. “I didn’t mean for this to happen. I don’t mean to hurt you. I think you are wonderful.”
I heard him sigh and knew he was standing there with his arms crossed gripping his own biceps tightly. I knew his every habitual movement. I could predict his every decision. Except this one. But when was the last time Jim had truly looked at me? I don’t know if he ever had. He tended to look past me unless he was demanding something from me. I had studied him endlessly so I’d truly understand him. But, I’d clearly failed.
“I wish I could explain this to you so that you’d understand. I was just talking to her and realized that she is what I want. It felt so right. I know that if I don’t take this chance with her that I’ll regret it.”
I could feel my fingers tighten in the fur and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt my only loyal companion. I slowly pulled my hands away and clenched my fists in my lap, resuming my focus on the birds. A beautiful robin had been in that nest sitting on her eggs faithfully for weeks. The eggs must have hatched at least a week ago because the babies were popping their heads up out of the nest.
“JILLY!” My head snapped around to glare at him.
“Don’t you DARE call me that right now.” My voice was harsher than I’d imaged.
He couldn’t suppress his flinch caused by my glare.
“I have stayed faithful to you all of this time,” my anger simmered in my words. “Not once have I even considered anyone except you.”
“Jill. Please understand. I didn’t mean for any of this. We have so much in common. It just seems meant to be. I believe I’ve met my soulmate.”
“You. Said. The. Same. Things. About. Me. Last. Week.” This time his eyes never even blinked under my unwavering stare.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve made my decision. I thought you’d understand. You, of all people. You’ve always understood me.”
I looked away from him so I wouldn’t launch myself at him and claw at his face. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and stared out the window at the birds. One of the babies was teetering on the edge of the nest. Before its mamma could push it back in, the baby fell.
I jumped from my seat and stared at the baby, struggling on the grass.
“Look at me, Jill!”
I held my hand up behind me stopping him from saying anything else. For the moment.
I watched the baby bird moving helplessly on the ground, obviously broken beyond repair.
“Jill, I love her.”
My eyes never wavered from the baby. It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.
Just like my heart.
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Written in response to the Speakeasy #159
This week’s prompts:
“It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.”