With soft sobs, I drenched the pillow until I drifted into a deep sleep, dreaming of him. I hoped that if I closed my eyes tightly enough I would wake in his bed, wrapped in his arms, laughing and giggling, as he tickled my belly, bringing his lips close, singing our baby a lullaby. Yes, this nightmare was just a dream, and soon I’d awaken.
Unfortunately I was forced back into reality when I woke the next day. With burning, dry eyes, I stared at the ceiling the rest of the morning. Sara knocked a few times, but I didn’t answer. I could hear the door screech open. She whispered my name, but I kept my eyes shut, hoping she’d go away. Eventually she did. I wasn’t ready to face the real world. Instead I wanted to dwell in my misery. Here in this tiny box, I was safe and away from everything else. Nothing could hurt me in here—nothing but my haunting thoughts.
Sara grew impatient when day two came around and I hadn’t moved from the bed. After opening the door, she sank down beside me. I opened my eyes when I realized she was not giving up. Her soft smile brightened her eyes. Her eyebrows pulled in, and her lips pouted at my resistance in acknowledging her with the same greeting.
“Sweetie, you can’t stay in here forever. You haven’t eaten a thing…how about you take a nice long hot shower, while I make us some dinner?” I wasn’t hungry, nor did I want to take a shower. However her sad eyes grew in sorrow, and I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. So I caved in, lifting myself onto my elbows, and I nodded. Smiling a little brighter, she stood and closed the door behind her.
The warm shower soothed my aching body. Massaging the cloth along my skin, I stared blankly at one of the pink tiles in front of me. The day he opened up to me was in the shower when he told me about his involvement with the Sorrentos. Everything reminded me of him. After all the things we’d been through, I knew I’d miss everything about him: the way he would enter the shower uninvited, wickedly grinning as he would take over and wash me himself; those big brown eyes, the way they looked into mine; the way he held me at night, tightly against his chest, whispering how much he loves me in my ear. Deep down I knew I would never get over him. He would always hold a special place in my heart. He would always be the love of my life.
My mother busied away by the stove as I sat on the tiny table for two. Gulping down water, I hadn’t realized how dehydrated I was. As she slammed away on the pots and pans, I heard a small buzzing sound. The sound grew louder. Sara turned around giving me an apologetic smile. I eyed her questioningly. “I hope you don’t mind your phone was going crazy all night, so I placed it on vibrate. It’s on the charger by the window over there.” She pointed to the window by the couch then turned and went back to her cooking.
I dreaded walking over to the phone. I knew what I’d find, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to confront it. Taking a few deep breaths, I found the courage to stand and head toward the window. A small blue light flicked on and off as it did to notify me when I missed any calls or received any messages. I took the phone off the charger and sat on the couch. Staring at the black screen for a few seconds, I tried to mentally prepare myself. After one more deep breath, I pressed the side button. The screen lit, and it revealed that I had several missed calls, voice messages and text messages. My heartbeat began to rapidly pick up its pace.
Deciding to view missed calls first, I noticed I had too many to count from Marcus. Just seeing his name on the screen made nervous butterflies flutter in my stomach. There were a few missed calls from Jeremy as well. That led me to believe that Marcus went by my place as I expected. Thankfully I was at the hotel and now here. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the sight of him. I viewed the text messages without reading them. There were several from him and a few from Jeremy. Deciding to skip Marcus’, I viewed only a couple of Jeremy’s messages.
JEREMY (6:00am) yesterday: What’s going on Mia?
JEREMY (8:30am) today: I’m worried. Call me. Please.
Oh God, I wonder what Marcus had said to him. Placing the phone to my ear, I hesitantly listened to Jeremy’s voice messages. “Mia, I don’t know what’s going on, but Marcus was just here…he was…I never seen him like this. He’s going crazy. He said the two of you had gotten into a huge argument, and you left. Mia, please call me. I want to know you’re safe.”
The next two were similar, but on the third one, Jeremy was leaving a message, “Mia, can you please call me,” when my entire body froze as I heard Marcus in the background, “I will not leave, Jae. I have to hear she’s okay!” Then Jeremy said, “Dude calm down, I’m trying to find out. Ugh, Mia, please call me. I need to know you’re okay … please.”
Maybe because I wasn’t expecting it, or maybe it was the desperate need in Marcus’ tone, but hearing his voice made my heart skip and pick up in speed. I felt faint hearing him. I decided to wait to actually hear Marcus’ messages. If I couldn’t handle that little piece, there was no way I was ready to hear what he had to say.
Biting on my thumbnail, I sat on the couch a little longer and wondered if I should pick up the phone and call Jeremy or shoot him a text to let him know I was … what am I? I’m not okay. I’m definitely not fine. Sara was still in the kitchen, so I decided to call Jeremy privately from the closet-sized bedroom.
I nervously paced in the small room as the phone rang. I was going to hang up on the third ring when Jeremy eagerly answered the phone. “Mia?” I could hear the fear in his voice.
“Yes.” I whispered.
Sighing in relief, “Jesus, Mia, I’ve been freaking out! Where are you? Come home.” he said.
Stopping, I sank into the futon. “Jeremy, I’m fine … well not really, but I’ll be fine. I can’t come home yet. I’m not ready to face him.”
He was silent over the phone for a second. “Yeah, he’s here you know, but asleep. He won’t leave. He sleeps by the door, hoping you’ll walk in soon.” Letting out a deep breath, he continued. “Are you sure you okay? Do you need me to bring you anything? Some clothes? Any of your things?”
“No, um, I’m afraid he’ll somehow follow you. I’ll buy whatever I need. I’m not sure how long it will be before I’m home, Jeremy … but I’ll keep you updated. Just let him know that you spoke with me, and that I’m okay. Maybe that will keep him out of your hair.”