Many people think how it would be if they ever get to live a fairytale love story. But very few people know what it feels like when their fairytale comes crashing down as they find out that everything they loved so much was all a lie.
I shut the door behind me with a loud thud. I was still in a daze and I didn’t know what I should do now. I slowly walked towards the kitchen to get myself a glass of water. I don’t know what I was thinking while I was walking, but I bumped with the corner of a table. There was a photo frame on it, which I had knocked over. The apartment was so silent and empty, the sharp sound of the glass breaking startled me.
I looked at our faces – our two happy smiling faces looking up at me from behind the broken glass. I reached down to pick up the broken pieces. It was almost like a reflex, I didn’t even have to think about anything. The instinct to immediately fix something of his just came to me automatically.
When I touched the first piece of broken glass, I realised what I was doing. I was cleaning up again. I assumed that it was my duty to clean up everything and that’s what I was doing again.
I left the broken frame lying on the floor and walked on to the kitchen. Flashes of what I had seen today kept flashing in front of me.
The image of you too were holding hands and siting at the café; you kissing her on the cheeks after she fed you some of her pasta; you both looking so deeply into each other’s eyes while talking; that bright smile on your face as you were looking at her when she was looking away; the way she touched your face, the way your fingers entwined, the way you kissed, the kind of energy you both gave off, the way anyone passing by you two couldn’t help but stare and smile.
Every single second I spent sitting there, looking at you both broke me down more than I could have ever imagined. The thought of how my fingers were there in yours a few hours ago made everything feel like a nightmare. I was the only one sitting in this tiny bubble of nightmare as everyone around me seemed to be living the most normal day in their lives.
Anyone in my place would have been furious. She would have confronted you immediately and made a huge scene in front of all the people in the café. All those people who thought of you both as the dream couple, not knowing how you were stabbing someone else sitting right there. I did feel like I was stabbed, I did not have the energy to scream at you or confront you in any way.
What was I supposed to say anyway? What was I supposed to ask you? There was nothing you could tell me that I couldn’t already see.
I realised I was holding the opened bottle of water for some time now. I took a few gulps and looked at it for a while. Instead of putting the cap back on, I dropped the bottle on the floor. The rest of the water spilled out and pooled around my feet. I looked down at my faint reflection on the water – this is probably how I would have looked if you would have seen me looking at you at the café. I would have looked exactly like this.
I stepped over the bottle and walked out of the kitchen. I could still hear them both laughing as I went to our bedroom and pulled out my suitcase from under the bed. The suitcase creased the sheets of the bed and it felt like someone dropped a heavy suitcase on my chest. I lightly touched the sheets and the memory of last night hit me hard. The memory of last night and all the nights of the last 5 years that we spent on this bed. I took a deep breath and turned to my wardrobe.
I separated all my clothes from his and swept all my stuff off the shelves and hangers. Everything was not fitting inside that one suitcase. I tried to push everything in, punching my own clothes as hard as I could. I took out the other duffel bag that I had and stuffed all the extra things in there. I went to bathroom to pick all my toiletries and throw them in the bags. I went around the whole apartment, collecting things here and there that were mine. I left behind anything that had any remote connection with you. But the one thing that had the most connection to you was me.
What should I do with myself?
I am going to remove myself as well. I am going far away from all this, far away from everything that ever had anything to do with him.
I looked around at the walls of our apartment. Any sketch we ever made, all the walls were covered with them. I touched the one closest to where I was standing. It was a sketch of a majestic horse and it was one of the earliest ones to get on the walls. I ran my fingers very lightly along the lines of the horse’s body and his majestic mane flying in the wind. He was the one who made it.
I remembered how he had told me while we put this up, that he had made this keeping me in mind. He had told me how the carefree wild horse reminded him about how open-minded and free-spirited I was. I still remember us kissing right after he was done putting it up. I remember many other things from that day – it was one of the best days of my life.
Something told me that I can probably say the same about today as well.
As I looked around at all the other sketches and paintings, I felt like someone was holding my head forcefully under water. I couldn’t breathe. I placed my hand at the top margin of the paper. I waited for a while to let my heart calm down. But it was pointless. I held the top of the paper and tore it down from the middle. A long strip of the paper came off from the middle and was dangling at the edge.
My hands started itching as the memories behind all the other sketches kept flashing in my mind. I moved on to the next sketch and tore it down as well. Then the next, and the next one. I didn’t take any of them off the wall in the beginning. Once I was done damaging all of them somehow or the other, I came back to each and every one to take them completely off the wall. The sound of ripping paper felt like music to my ears. I didn’t want to distinguish between which one was mine and which was his – to me, they were all toxic and they needed to be destroyed.
I was panting heavily after I was done. I silently stood at one corner and watched all the pieces of sheets lying on the floor, crushed and crumpled, some strokes and colours peeking here and there.
I walked back to the bedroom and made sure that I had everything in the bags one last time. I took up everything on my shoulders and walked towards the door, stepping over all the sheets of paper, hearing them crush under my feet.
I opened the door and I realised something as I was just about to step out. I dug my hands inside my purse and took out the keys – the keys of the apartment, the copy which was made for me. I took one long look at the keys and without a moment of hesitation threw them into the mess on the floor. The bunch landed on a crumpled sheet.
I walked out the door and slammed it shut behind me.
I felt the hand which was holding me under, let go. I raised my head above the water.
I could breathe again.