It was Sunday evening, and the pleasant scent of grilled chicken, roasted red potatoes, and steamed asparagus drifted comfortingly through the air. Candles flickered silently on the table, and all that could be heard were the hushed clinks of silverware against plates piled with food.
She looked up quietly in hopes of catching his eye, but he continued to stare blankly down at his own plate of food, seemingly content with the overwhelming silence that surrounded them. Her shoulders drooped and her gaze fell. She straightened up. She didn’t want to seem too visibly upset.
The clinks continued as her mind began to race frantically. There must be something to talk about, she thought to herself as she continued to rack her brain for conversation starters.
“How was work today?” Damn. Could she not think of anything more interesting to say?
“Fine,” he replied with a grunt. More silence. More frantic thinking.
“How’s your dinner?”
“Eh, could use more seasoning.” Ouch. Her heart stung. How long had she been working on this dinner? How many recipes had she searched through in hopes of finding something to his liking? Part of her was broken hearted, another part furious, yet all she could say was simply, “I’m sorry, hun. I’ll try to do better next time.”
“Okay.” That was all he said. They continued to eat in silence.
As dinner came to an end, she silently began to gather up the dishes. He scooted back in his chair, stood up, and without a word, disappeared up the stairs.
Is this how relationships are supposed to feel? she thought sadly to herself as she made her way to the sink, arms piled high with empty plates. The overwhelming loneliness wrapped itself tightly around her body. It slithered its way up her legs and across her chest. Her breath became more shallow until it felt as though she may stop breathing all together.
PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, her mind screamed as her fingers gripped tightly to the counter. A single tear slipped its way down her reddened cheek.
With the dishes done and the table clean, she made her way up the stairs. He was lying silently on the bed, phone in hand, tv blaring in the background. She quickly undressed for bed and slowly slipped under the covers. She pretended to focus on the television screen as he continued to scroll through Facebook.
An hour passed in this way. Awkward silence, at least for her, hung thickly in the air.
“Is everything…okay?” she asked even though she already knew what his answer would be.
“I’m fine. Just been a long day.”
“Well if there’s anything I can do…”
“I know.” Silence.
“I love you” she squeaked barely above a whisper.
“Love you too.” Her spirits lifted, but only a little.
As he stood up to turn off the lights, she carefully rolled towards the wall. Her mind was filled with many thoughts, but the one that stood out the most was simple.
I may be lonely, but at least I’m not alone.
Her eyes closed, and she fell into a restless sleep.