I awoke the next morning to the sound of an owl pecking on my window. All of my roommates were gone, and by the position of the sun in the sky outside I could tell it was pretty late in the morning. I freaked out for all of a millisecond before realizing it was Saturday. Saturday. I’d see Tyler again today and he’d hand off Mackenzie for the week. And that was his owl pecking at the window!
I jumped up and ran to the window, wrenching it open and letting the owl hop into the frame. I grabbed the parcel off his leg and patting him on the head, tearing open the letter.
I was thinking we could meet in the Room of Requirement at noon so that I could give you Mackenzie for the week. Let me know what you think. If that’s not okay with you, I’ll give her to your parents and you can get her whenever you’re ready.
The letter didn’t give away anything to the fact of whether or not Tyler missed me but at least it was some sort of communication. I looked at the time. It was eleven, almost on the dot. I scribbled a quick confirmation before jumping up and heading for the shower. I had to make myself presentable, if not pretty.
I walked into the Room of Requirement five minutes after twelve. Tyler was standing near a window in the room, with Mackenzie laying in a nearby crib. Her baby bag was sitting on the bed. His back was towards me and he didn’t hear me walk in, so I cleared my throat a little. He spun around quickly, running a hand through his hair and stepping forward. “Alix.” He said before calming himself back down and saying. “How’ve you been?”
This answer could make us or break us. Act tough or tell the truth. I sighed. “Okay, I suppose. You?”
He sighed as well. “Okay seems appropriate.”
An uncomfortable silence fell upon us and after a few minutes, we both opened our mouths to speak at the same time. We closed our mouths and then he said “Go ahead.” But I waved my hand through the air for him to speak. He shook his head before looking out the window again. He seemed to be deep in thought as he placed on of his hands against the wall above his head. My stomach fluttered as I noticed the silver glint to his wedding ring. “Are you dating Martin?” He asked quietly.
“Excuse me?” I replied. I wondered if I’d heard him correctly.
“Blake Martin. Are you with him now?”
I smiled a bit to myself. “No. No, I’m not. Are you dating the whores?” I hadn’t meant to call them that out loud.
He laughed a little. “No.” He turned to face me again and walked closer towards me. “I suppose you want to take Mackenzie and go.”
“No. She’s sleeping. I don’t want to wake her. You can go though if you’d like.”
He shook his head. “No, I’m fine.”
Uncomfortable silence again. “I’m back on the sixth year track.” I said quietly, hoping.
“I’ve noticed.” He replied jokingly. “You sat next to me in all of my classes, remember? How could I not notice?” That part seemed a little more melancholy.
“Right.” I replied. I stared into his eyes and I felt that familiar lump in my throat again. This time, tears rushed to my eyes of their own accord and no matter how hard my brain screamed for them to stop, they flowed down my cheek. Tyler closed the space between us and wiped my tears with his thumbs. I laid my forehead against his chest and he wrapped his arms around me tightly, kissing my forehead. We didn’t say anything and when I was done crying, he eventually let go of me, sighing.
“Alix… I just… I need…”
“You need to experience all that there is. You rushed into marriage with me too quickly and didn’t get to get your feel of all that there is out there.” I completed for him.
He sighed and looked at the ground. “Yeah.” I nodded grimly. “I don’t expect you to wait around for me.”
I laughed bitterly. “And I don’t expect you to come back to me unless you want to.”
He looked down but sort of nodded. “Are you alright?”
“Meaning?” I asked. Did he mean ‘are you okay with me being gone?’ or ‘are you over your cold and back to a normal sleeping pattern’ or what?
“In general, I guess. I don’t know Alix. I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. I want you in my arms so badly right now, to kiss you and push everything else away, to sleep in your bed tonight. But I know I’ll go stir-crazy again if I try to ignore what my mind’s been telling me for awhile now. I love you Alix. Alright? Please, please don’t think this is because of you. Everything I said before had nothing to do with the feelings I’m feeling now. I don’t take back anything I said, but those reasons weren’t the reasons I left. I was looking for an excuse, I suppose. Please don’t think it’s you Alix. It’s not you –“
I cut him off. “It’s not you, it’s me?” I whispered. “Right?” I scoffed and walked over to the bed, laying down on it.
He stood awkwardly for a few moments. “What do you want me to say Alix? That I felt smothered? That I realized I’d married the first girl I’d dated, had sex with, and hadn’t ever experienced anyone else? That I felt trapped into a marriage because I had a daughter now? Is that what you wanted to hear Alix?”
“Yes. If that’s the truth. I’ve never wanted you to lie to me Tyler. The moment you felt that way, you should’ve told me immediately!” I replied, and then sighed. I really didn’t want to fight anymore. “You just go do what you’ve got to do. I’m gonna let myself go on like normally. If I move on, I move on. I doubt I will, but if it happens, it happens. If you move on, it happens. I will be devastated, but I won’t go back into that depression that I was in the first time we broke up. I have a daughter who needs me to teach her how to be strong now. If not for myself, I’ll be strong for her.” I stated. “Who knows? Maybe this is something I need too.” I stood again and walked over to Mackenzie’s crib. She still wasn’t awake. I sighed and walked over towards the window, staring outside like Tyler’d done only a few moments ago.
“So then it’s official. We’re separated.” He whispered and he seemed a little bit more defeated than he had before my little spiel.
I didn’t answer for a few moments. “Yeah Tyler, we’re separated. If that’s what you want.”
“You just laid there and basically told me that’s what you wanted!” He yelled.
I turned around quickly. “No. No I did not! I told you I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for you if you were choosing to leave me. I will hate it if you leave for good, Tyler. I would much rather you come home and hold me and your daughter all night long, but only if that’s what you want! I’d rather hate my life for awhile, than know you weren’t happy with me!” I felt tears again and I lowed both my voice and my head. Looking at the ground, I continued. “Ty, leave if you need to. Go. Do what you’ve got to do. I don’t want you to go, but I understand if you need to. Don’t expect me to shirk my responsibilities again though and morn and mope over you for months. I’ve got a daughter and school to worry about.” I walked up to him and pulled his hands into mine. “The choice is entirely yours Tyler.”
I noticed now, that he had tears lining his eyes too. “I don’t know what I want Alix.”
If the feeling’s gone, words won’t stop you anyway.
If being free’s worth what you leave behind,
And if it’s too late for love to change your mind
Then it’s goodbye time. – Blake Shelton; “Goodbye Time”