I woke to an empty bed. Not unusual, seeing as how my husband worked strange hours, but since he was off today, I was playing hooky from work so I could spend some quality time with him.
I got out of bed and found Edward on the couch; he was lying down with one arm covering his eyes as if he were trying to shield them from the light.
"Do you have another headache?" I asked.
He was no stranger to them. In fact, he and headaches had been well acquainted for years, but some were worse than others. Lately, however, they were making lasting and frequent visits.
Ever since we found out…"Bella, I'm leaving," he said, interrupting my thoughts.
"You gonna grab something at the pharmacy for the pain?" I asked as I walked around our forest green loveseat and sat down next to his feet.
"No, I don't have a headache. Bella, I'm leaving," he said, getting exasperated as he sat up to look at me, pain and annoyance etched in his eyes.
"You already said that," I acknowledged. "Where are you going?"
"I'm going back to Texas," he began. "Back to Dallas. Back home."
"But Edward, this is home," I said shakily. I was confused; my heart started to beat rapidly at the realization of what he was possibly saying. My brain reasoned that this was temporary or maybe he was confused; he didn't really mean what he was saying.
My heart disagreed. This was goodbye.
Maybe it was paranoia – I hoped it was paranoia on my part, but the acid churning in my gut reinforced the reality of the situation.
"No, Bella. This is not my home. This is where I live, but this is not my home. I'm not sure it has ever been my home." He responded with a resigned sigh. I couldn't tell if he was mad or frustrated.
His words felt heavy and obstructive, and my chest responded to their weight accordingly.
Breathing in deeply and finding the courage to speak, I tried to reason with him, convince him that we could move to Dallas together and fix whatever was broken, not that I knew what that was. Didn't he know that my home was wherever he was?
"Okay. If you wanted to go back to Dallas, and you were uncomfortable here, why didn't you just tell me? I can work from anywhere, and we can start looking for houses. I know your parents are there, and so is your brother, and - "
"Bella…stop. I said I'm leaving...not we're leaving." He ran his hand over his face and then returned my stare. His eyes bore into mine as if searching or maybe pleading – no, begging me to understand what he meant without making him say it.
I fell silent as I let the gravity of his words sink in. My lips started to quiver, and my eyes began to water. As tears fell, my trembling lips asked the dreaded question even though the answer could destroy me.
"Edward, don't you want to be with me anymore?" I couldn't even look at him when I asked it. Instead, I stared at my hands in my lap and watched as a single tear turned into a staccato of salty droplets.
He sighed and shifted on the couch, turning to sit side by side with me, his shoulder brushing against mine. Normally, I'd find his touch, his presence reassuring…but not now.
"The truth is, Bella, I simply don't love you as a husband loves a wife," he explained.
Shocked, I turned my head to look at him; he showed no signs of emotion.
No remorse. No regret. No tears.
No reaction to my state of despair.
The Edward I knew would have comforted me; it would have torn him apart to watch me cry. I was sitting next to a complete stranger and looking into the eyes of a man I did not know.
"I'm taking my car along with whatever I'll need tomorrow. You can keep everything. I'll send you the paperwork once I'm settled," he said in a rush, "and I'm sleeping in one of the guest bedrooms tonight," he concluded.
With that, he rose from the couch and walked away from me and, essentially, from our life.