Fight and Flight

 

Image credit; Simona Sergi @ Unsplash

Animosity and accusation hung in the air between them.

‘What will you do?’ he asked, staring at the envelope on the table. It had been hanging from the ceiling when she’d arrived home, she’d said. He hadn’t read the letter, but then he hadn’t needed to.  To know it was here, that it had arrived…to see the look on her face was enough. The jagged top edge where she had torn the paper, ripping at it in panic no doubt, captured his attention. He couldn’t look away. It was better than having to see her red-rimmed eyes again.  He was a coward and he knew it.

‘What can I do?’ she said quietly. Her voice was forlorn.

He could tell her eyes were filling with tears again but still he could not look at her.

‘Say something,’ she prompted.

‘What? What can I say?’

Anything,’ she spat at him.

Her pain and shock had turned to anger.  He couldn’t blame her for that, yet it still sent a jolt of revulsion through him.  He could just about tolerate her neediness, but there was something ugly about the creature she had turned into. And it was all because of that blasted letter.

He had caused this.  He knew that. But he wasn’t going to take all the blame.  He hadn’t made her do anything.

‘Grow up!’ he barked. ‘You think a few tears are going to fix this?’

This only served to bring on the next set of sobbing, which vexed him further.  He needed to think and he couldn’t do that if she was acting like a baby.

‘You knew what you were getting into from the beginning.  Don’t pretend you didn’t.’

‘But-‘

‘No.’  He cut her off.  ‘You did.  You’re just as responsible for this mess as I am.’

‘That’s not-‘

He snatched up the letter and shoved it into his pocket. ‘I need some air,’ he hissed before storming out.  What he actually meant was that he needed to get away from here.  From her.

The door slammed behind him.  He stood on the porch, closed his eyes and took in a few deep, slow breaths. One glance to the left and he saw the edge of the woods where he liked to walk.  A glance to the right and he saw his car.  He patted the pockets and found the keys.

Had she known he was planning on leaving when he stormed out? Had he?

But she knew him better than he knew himself.  And that was a dangerous thing, he admitted, as he crossed the driveway. Why did he have to let her get so close? He was vulnerable now. She had made him weak. And that made them both targets.

She was standing at the window now.  He could feel her eyes on him as he unlocked his car and got in. But he didn’t once look up, never gave her the slightest sign that he had seen her. That he cared.  Instead, he slammed his hands across the steering wheel a few times, his own frustration boiling over into anger at the way things had turned out.

Then, with no idea of where he was going, and no idea of what he was going to do next, he started the car and sped away, his tyres skidding across the road as he took the turns far sharper than he should of.

He was only a minute from the house when his phone started to ring. Her name flashed across the screen.

‘Can’t you give me five minutes of peace?!’ he roared at the phone without answering it. With one eye on the road and the other on his phone, he turned it off and then threw it behind him. He didn’t care where it landed as long as he didn’t have to see it.  He didn’t want to be reminded of the mistake he had made.

It was too late to fix things. She was on her own now.  They both were. But he doubted very much that would save them.


Written for: What Do You See? #65 hosted by Sadje at Keep It Alive – Thanks Sadje for the inspiration!

This is the first time I’ve joined in with this prompt, and as soon as I saw the photo, the story was suddenly there waiting for me to write.  I love it when that happens.  However, the rules do ask that the responses are family-friendly and there is a lot of anger in my characters and in this scene, so I’m not sure if I broke the rules here…apologies, if I did…