As he slammed the door shut, some remaining snow fell past his driver side window. Reaching for the seat belt, he locked eyes with his wife, whom he knew full well he was falling out of love with. Changes ranging from emotional to physical to mental had transformed the woman he had once adored with ease. The shade of her hair aging to grey was of less concern than her heart darkening to what he could best describe as a piece of coal. Never did he utter those words to her, but he was certain that she picked up on how he really felt based on his demeanor over the last few months. Her facial features seemed to be going the way of her cavernous soul, giving off the impression that her frontal was being chiseled with careful aggression by the harsh artist known as life.
She looked back at him, watching him buckle the safety belt and reach for the car keys that rested in his jacket pocket. He was about to insert the key in the ignition, but she reached for his hand, stopping him before he could do so. Leaving the key in the ignition, he succumbed to her intent, and placed his hand in hers on top of the armrest that lay between them both.
She locked eyes with her husband, whom she knew full well was falling in love with her more and more with each passing day. She knew that he was going through a lot, he was constantly stressed regarding his work, or lack thereof, but he tried. He took the swiftest punch that life had to offer, and came back with his chin up, begging for more. She had admired that about him and always had. He was the glue that held this mess of a life they had together, even if it was the cheap glue you’d find at The Dollar Store. His strength was also his biggest weakness, often causing him to take on too much at one time just to prove that he could. He had gained a considerable amount of weight over the years and dyed his hair black every six months, but it didn’t cause her to love him any less.
As she looked into his hazel eyes and him back at hers, she was reminded that of the reason she remained true to him; his boyish enthusiasm. She hated to see him lose that part of him with all of this ongoing, but believed that he’d get it back some day. He had to, she figured. It was such a huge part of who he was as a person and it couldn’t possibly be gone for good. With as many times as she told him to grow up, she was beginning to wonder if that was exactly what he had done.
They had a long drive ahead of them, but seemed to care less and less about the destination, or even the journey for that matter. They had agreed to give the bathroom a makeover this weekend, which caused her to get custom made floral print wallpaper from a local designer who she had met through Facebook. The design she had chosen heavily featured the rare Jade Vine flower with a backdrop of a rain forest deep in the Philippines.
Tears welled up above the bottom folds of their eyelids, and skipped down their cheeks respectively. The emotional energy bouncing off of the two of them could be construed as sexual tension from somebody on the outside looking in, but they knew exactly what it was. Words unspoken had found another way to escape, filling the air with raw passion.
He thought about all of the things that he sacrificed to make this faint semblance of a life work. His family and friends kept hidden judgments about the path he had chosen, causing him to feel that negative energy at any and all family functions that he attended. They silently held less than flattering opinions regarding his wasted potential. He was supposed to be somebody better in a world filled to the bleachers with undeserved wealth. The rest of his family could gladly call themselves a success, while he was still struggling to even find himself again.
The process had begun and he was hiding this fact from his wife, making him feel as if he had an eternal hangover. His phone vibrated, and then rang out with a song from Gucci Mane. She chuckled and wiped her tears away at how awkward this moment had become, watching him swipe away the phone call and placing it inside the cup holder in the middle console.
As he turned his head and looked at her with a slight smile on her face, he finally spoke to propose a question.
“Don’t you remember how we used to be?”