Oh, and there were a few things that just didn't make sense the first time around. I had been cutting and pasting from previous drafts and things got kinda confusing, so I hope I fixed some of that.
Also, I'm wondering if Jennifer should even bother to throw a ketchup bottle because while I have seen a plastic ketchup bottle explode on imact when hurled toward a wall, others probably haven't.
So yeah.... Here it is...still a working process, but that's part of the fun!
Jennifer clenched the ketchup bottle and lifted it above her head. She focused then hurled it toward her husband who ducked just in time. The bottle hit the wall with vengeance, popped its lid off and then splattered red across the yellow floral wall paper. No one took notice. Robert lunched toward the kitchen table where their dinners sat idly, grabbed the innocent pickle jar in his large hand and aimed. His eyes narrowed, his brows furrowed and in one swift motion, he hurled the glass jar toward her quivering body.
Jennifer watched as the jar sailed through the air, but managed to dodge to the ground at the last moment. Shards of glass rained down on her curled up body. For a moment, she didn’t move, frozen in the fetal position wondering how things had ever gotten this bad.
A grunt of curse words escaped Robert’s lips as he took a step closer, maybe to check on his wife, maybe just to get a better look at her crying. When she weakly met his eyes, she thought she saw regret, even guilt, in his tired expression. But it must have just been an illusion.
“It’s over. You win,” he said then huffed out of the kitchen, down the hall and out the front doo.
Finally. Seven years of flared tempers and constant fighting finally is over. She let out the breath she forgot she was holding and began to survey the damage.
Suddenly, with a burst of adrenaline, Jennifer gathered up the cold turkey burgers still on the table, the cream plates given as a wedding gift, and the new flatware her in-laws gave as a house warming present, and tossed everything into the trash. She didn’t want anything left to remind her of their past.
Upstairs, she found a few old duffle bags and started shoving all of Robert’s hundred dollar suits into the small luggage. She figured she’d put them on the front porch. He can stay in a hotel for all she cared.
She smiled wickedly as she entered the bathroom and reached for his toothbrush. Oh the things she could do with this. Maybe dunk it in the toilet? He’d never know. Jennifer laughed. No, even she wasn’t that evil. She put his toiletries in the bag then went into his study. Piles of paperwork and files covered his desk and bookshelf so much so that he’d resorted to stacking his work along the floor. She hated his job, how many hours he’d put into it since they got married, and considered just throwing everything out, but hesitated. After all, the more money he made, the more she could get in alimony.
Instead of destroying his work, she started shoving as much as possible into the luggage. Just when she was starting to feel empowered, a small white envelope dropped to the floor. Written in Robert’s messy handwriting was her name.
She let out a sigh.
“Probably a birthday card he forgot to give me,” she said remembering her thirty-fifth birthday that came and went without so much as a verbal acknowledgement.
She picked it up and used her manicured nail to pierce the seal. As she pulled it out, a small twinge of lost hope surfaced. The card was beautiful, with a light sky background and a purple butterfly in the middle. Once, in college, Jennifer mentioned that she always loved butterflies, their beauty, their transformation. Robert used to decorate paper butterflies and leave them on her shoes so she’d find them before her morning run. That was years ago.
“Whoa,” she said, surprised to see that the inside was a solid page of print, handwritten just for her.
Suddenly her knees began to shake and she delicately lowered herself to the floor.
“Dear Jenny,” she read out loud. He hadn’t called her Jenny since college.
It started with an apology, one she never thought she’d get. He wrote about his regret, pain and sadness for taking his job and leaving her alone so many nights. He wished he had put her, their marriage ahead of promotions.
He forgave her for the affair.
Her heart stopped pounding. Even though she thought about coming clean, she had never actually told her husband about the affair. How had he known?
The black ink on the paper started to run. She hadn’t even felt the tears come out.
“Am I moving out?”
Jennifer quickly raised to her feet, startled to see Robert standing in the door way, his hands in his pockets, his eyes on the duffle bags.
“When did you write this?”
He took a deep breath and took a few steps closer to her.
“About six months ago.”
“Why didn’t you give it to me?”
He smiled sheepishly and shrugged. “I guess I thought it was too late.”
Jennifer ran her fingers along the edge of the card. He had a point. One note wouldn’t erase almost a decade of a terrible marriage. But maybe, maybe it could be the start of something new, if he really meant what he wrote. Of course, she had some apologizing to do as well…
A lump formed in her throat.
“No, no it’s too late,” Jennifer said. “We’ve done too much to each other to just forget.”
Robert nodded, trying to hide the moisture in his eyes by looking down at the white carpet.
“I know. I understand,” he said. He reached for the duffle bags, his arm briefly rubbing against hers, sending pulses between them. Jennifer took a step back and watched as he slowly walked toward the door.
“We made vows,” he whispered just loud enough for the words to reach Jennifer’s ears then fade.
Suddenly, the relief of divorce was replaced with a heaviness she’d never experienced. Maybe they were making a big mistake.
He looked back to her, searching her blue eyes, but when she said nothing he nodded and turned.
“Good bye Jennifer,” he said softly.
“Stay, please,” she said but the words never made it to her lips. She just stood there, frozen in time, watching the only man she ever loved walk away.