It hurt. It hurt when she had slapped him, when she had yelled and screamed at him, it hurt when she looked at him with tears in her eyes, but had recoiled at the last second, right before his hand was able to make direct contact with her tear-stained, tanned face. What hadn't hurt was the failed attempts at kicks and punches, just that slap and all the words that you wouldn't, couldn't, imagine ever, ever coming out of Kelly Kapowski's mouth.
He hadn't even realized that he was crying or talking or even breathing until he heard himself ask her in a voice that eerily reminded him of the five-year olds that was currently not here.
The voice he'd use when he didn't understand something, when he'd crawl on top of his lap and ask "Daddy, what's that mean?"
Zack hadn't realized that he had just used that voice on this question, but he had. "Why are you leaving?" he asked again, now with a slightly more raspy, horse tone as he slowly peeled his eyes away from the hall wall and directed them onto Kelly, the woman who was standing in front of him, telling him she was leaving, the one who was crying and who was upset and who was confused.
"Zack…" she trailed off but broke down into another fit of sobs.
"No." he cleared his throat, making his voice more firm this time. "No." he repeated, his eyes locking with her bright, glistening blue ones. "No, you don't get to be angry, you don't get to be upset or sad or confused. "That's my job, that's what I get to do, you want to know why?" his voice was rising and hardening but it was getting harder and harder to breathe and yell and keep from getting down on his hands and knees and begging. "You don't get to do that stuff because I'm not the one leaving, I'm not the one leaving behind a family and a house and a life, a history, memories of something that was supposed to be forever and not something you gave up on after years and years of marriage, a marriage that has held so many memories in it self for so long and now you're going to just leave it all behind, a husband, three kids, a life and house and just for what Kel? Someone else? Someone better? Huh, what is it that is doing this to you? Why are you leaving me?" he took a deep, shaky breath before he looked back into her eyes and finally broke down.
"Zack." She put her hands on his chest, but he shook them off.
"Don't touch me, don't you dare touch me!" something inn his voice told her not to push it, especially not after that.
"Zack, I'm not leaving you, I'm leaving this, Parasades, California, what I've known, what I've always known."
"Because I need more than this and I know it's not easy, it's not easy for me either."
"Then don't leave, stay, we'll work it out, together, where ever you want to go, I'll follow, just don't go, don't leave me."
"Zack, I have to, I need to go."
"No I, (sniffle) need (sniffle) to."
And with that, she picked up her last suitcase and walked out the door, with one last glance over her shoulder and a fleeting twitch of the corners of her mouth and then climbed into her Blue Yaris and drove away.