The Color Of Forever(3)

By: Julianne MacLean


The cab driver waited until I opened the back door, but I hesitated before getting in. “Mark,” I said more gently. “Why don’t you come home with me? We can talk about this some more. Figure things out.”

His eyes lifted briefly. “I told you, I don’t want to talk about it tonight. Go home. Get in your pajamas. I’ll see you later.”

He returned his attention to his phone and began texting.

“Fine. Bye,” I tersely said as I slid into the back seat and shut the cab door.

I watched him, still texting on the sidewalk as we drove off, but he never looked up. I wonder now if he had texted Mariah, the sexy, young articling clerk at his firm. I hadn’t suspected anything at the time, but if I had known about her—known what she looked like and how all the men at the firm were drooling over her like schoolboys—might I have mustered the energy to stay out a few extra hours and suffer the headache the following morning?

Probably.

o0o

Much later that night, Mark slipped quietly into bed, working hard not to wake me. I lay with my back to him and pretended to be asleep, though I was fully aware that it was past 3:00 a.m. and he smelled like cigarette smoke. I wondered where he had been, but didn’t want to start another fight, so I decided to wait until the morning to ask about his night.

When I woke, he was gone. At least he’d left me a note on the kitchen table to let me know he’d risen early to hit the gym. It wasn’t unusual for him to work out on Saturday mornings—even with a hangover—so I simply let it go. I didn’t bring up our argument again.

Three weeks later, I would come to regret that decision.





Chapter Three





“I don’t understand,” I said as I followed Mark to the door where his suitcase was packed and waiting. “Maybe we hit a few rough patches lately, but I thought everything was fine. How can you just pack up and leave like this? Don’t you even want to try to work things out?”

“Trust me. It’s better this way,” he replied as he reached hurriedly for his coat in the front hall closet. “There’s no point dragging this out over months or even years.”

“But…” I watched him slip his arms into the sleeves and check his pockets for his gloves. “You haven’t even given me a chance to process this. I’m in shock, Mark. I come home from work and find you sitting on the sofa with your bags packed. Surely you’re not serious. You’re not going to leave right now.”

“I am.”

The chill in his tone made my stomach turn over with a sickening ball of dread. “How long have you been feeling this way?”

“A while,” he replied, without hesitation, which came as a total shock to me.

“Wait…” I reached out to touch his harm, wanting to hold on to him. He was my husband and I loved him. We were supposed to be building a life together. I thought he was going to be the father of my children. “I know you weren’t keen on the idea of having a baby,” I said, “but we can talk about that. Maybe I’ve been pushing too hard lately. But I still don’t understand how you suddenly decided, at the drop of a hat, to throw our entire marriage out the window.”

“It’s not at the drop of a hat,” he replied irritably as he wrapped his Ralph Lauren scarf around his neck and bent to pick up his travel-sized suitcase. “I told you, I’ve been thinking about this for a while.”

“But you never said anything.” My heart began to thump heavily in my chest and perspiration beaded on my brow. Was this really happening? “I thought we were happy.”

He rolled his eyes and shook his head, which caused a sudden rush of anger to thrash in my blood. I gritted my teeth, grabbed him roughly by the arm and forced him to look directly at me. “How long have you felt this way?”

He paused. “You and I both know it’s gotten stale lately. A year maybe,” he conceded at last.

I blinked a few times and spoke with rancor. “A year? And you think we’re stale? What the hell does that mean?”

“It means we’re not in love like we used to be. The spark’s gone. Come on, Katelyn, there’s no passion and you know it.”

I let out a breath of shock. “No, I don’t. I’m your wife and I was ready to have a baby with you. Now I find out that you’re not that into me?”

This news was like a knife in my gut, because I’d always worked so hard to make Mark happy—to do all the things he enjoyed, like tennis and water skiing. I showed interest in his work and I was always supportive of what he wanted. I was never a nag and I never “let myself go,” as far as appearances were concerned. I hadn’t gained a single pound since the day we married, nor had I succumbed to the temptation of sweatpants, or wearing no makeup, or pulling my hair back in a ponytail on the weekends. I’d avoided all of that, for him.

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