A Short Story
by CJ Heck
Sydney was stunned, as she swiped at an errant tear with her tissue. She had just left the courthouse and was walking down the twelve stone steps to the street to hail a cab. She always heard divorce brought mixed feelings, but she never figured that her feeling of choice would be sadness -- God knows, the marriage had been dying for years. Still, the sadness puzzled her. She had always thought her own main emotion would be one of elation, once the judge signed the decree that stated she was finally free.
As she got in the taxi, Sydney gave the driver her new address and shut the door. It's all so odd, she thought. You meet someone, you fall in love, and with all of the best intentions, you believe it will last forever. Over time, things happen. You never even see it coming. You both get busy, tired, and things just seem to get in the way. The world and everything in it pushes and pulls and then, with no warning at all, it eventually plants itself right in between you. Without ever realizing that it's happening, at some point along the way you both change and suddenly it's over. You're merely shadows of who you were, and avoiding each other because of who you've become -- two total strangers sharing the same house.
You don't really know how you know it's over, but you do, she thought. For her, it came slowly, the awareness. With the certainty and final resignation of a child learning there's no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny, she just knew.
The breakfast table, once a venue for long dreamy stares and coffee-flavored kisses, had awkwardly become a wordless stage for reading the paper and eating breakfast. One morning she suddenly realized that the ticking clock on the wall and the crackling of the sports pages were the only sounds left between them.
Wiping a fresh tear away with the back of her hand, Sydney recalled the smell of his shirt when she used to bury her face there. She could remember the touch of his hands on her body, as if they had a life of their own. With a sigh, she realized that both had silently slipped to a place wherever memories go to gather dust. There, they'll lie dead and forgotten among all the shards of boredom and what used to be.
How she would miss the nights, and the love they had shared -- at least for awhile. Sydney remembered all too well their perfect fit, how his body and hers breathed and moved as one. I don't know, she thought, maybe it was those nights and the way they used to be that finally gave the knowing life, but she just knew. And, in the knowing, she finally realized -- it was over.
Like the ocean tides on her favorite beach, love had slowly receded with all of the other yesterdays and she wished she could trade all of her tomorrows to have it back, but at least now she finally understood why she was sad. She grieved for the death of love. It truly was over.