By the time Steven had finished the dishes, Arlene was packed and ready to go.
“You aren’t taking much with you ,” he said. She only had one suitcase.
“I don’t need much. I’m buying new things. I want to start over,” she said looking nervously out the window.
“Is he meeting you here?”
“No. We’re meeting at the diner.”
“The diner?” he said. Some of his friends in the neighborhood would be there. Not that he had any close friends, but acquaintances. What would they think to see her alone with a suitcase, leaving with…. him?
“Don’t you want me to take you somewhere? Somewhere….to meet him?” He looked away.
“No, Steven. I think this is best.”
“I could at least drop you off at the diner. You don’t want to walk.”
“It’s only 2 blocks, Steven.” forcing a chuckle,” The walk will do me good. I need to lose weight.
So many changes, thought Steven. So much loss.
“Will you call me?”he asked. “Let me know how you’re doing?”
“I’ll be in touch with the children. They can update you.”
He shook his head slowly. “Has it really been that bad, Arlene? Have I been that bad? Where did I go wrong?
“Steven, it’s just….you’ve never been happy. I could never please you.”
“I don’t want you to please me. I want you to stay with me. We’re married for God’s sake!”
She picked up her bag, walked over to him and kissed him on the check.
He didn’t hear the door open, but he knew when it was closed. The pain in his hip had become a dull ache. He sat in a chair and wondered what to do next.
He sat there for some time, unable to focus. After some time, he noticed a bright light coming through the window, blinding his eyes. For a while he stared into its brightness. Then, he rose to his feet, walked over, and shut the shades.