“It was an impulse buy,” he explains, eyes drooping in some sort of shame. “I confided in one of my friends who works in real estate that I was thinking of starting up my bakery again but somewhere else. So he said he’d do some research.”
I pull my hand away from his. Not harshly but I just don’t feel right letting him hold it anymore. “I didn’t know restarting your bakery was a dream of yours.”
“Well yeah,” his eyebrows furrow in confusion, “How couldn’t it be?”
I take that as a rhetorical question because if I were to answer, my answer would probably sound something like well, your first one didn’t work out so great, and that’s just a rude thing to say to someone.
“Anyway, he found that Illinois is one of the best states to start a small bakery in and that they don’t have horrible public schools for Lindsey. And then he actually found me a building and told me I needed to bid fast so I did.”
My brain doesn’t seem to be understanding the reality of the situation, but apparently my eyes do because they well up, and I have to look down so he doesn’t see.
“Oh, Mitch,” he breathes out sadly, obviously seeing my reaction anyway and moving to put his arms around me. I let him, but it just makes the tears start flowing more.
He continues, “I just wanted a change from Texas. I think Illinois will be so much quieter, and I can give Lindsey a better life. Plus Christian’s parents will be closer. Still quite a few hours, but not nearly as far as here.” He sighs. “I just think it’ll be better.”
I don’t answer. Instead I try to quickly distract myself before the depressing thoughts start to spiral through each chamber of my brain. It doesn't work though because with every sniffle I breathe in his scent, and my mind automatically reminds me that I won't be smelling that for much longer.
“I looked at the building online before bidding, but only for a few minutes. Then after bidding, I really did my research on the place, and it seems nice. I found an apartment nearby that has a bus stop for Lindsey’s sake…”
So it has everything except for me
He proceeds to tell me a few more details about it, but my brain feels like it’s concealed in bubble wrap. I think this is a protection mechanism so I don't feel as much of the pain for now. Kind of like shock.
He becomes silent when he realizes I’m not really listening and instead just holds my body. But I don’t want it. I don’t want him pretending like he loves me when he doesn’t so I tell him to leave. I say, “You can go now.”
And he says, “What?”
And I say, “I said you can go.” With a sniffle. But not a sniffle to guilt him into staying. I just needed to sniffle.
And he says, “I want to stay with you while you’re so upset.”
And I say, “You’re the one who made me this upset. So you can go.”
So he slowly peels himself away and walks out the door without another word. When the door shuts, I fall to the floor and sob there until the tiles are slippery.
I tell Kirstie about it two days later while we sit in her living room. She cradles Eliana in her arms, waiting for her next fit. But in the meantime, she has a few minutes to hear me complain.
“Did he ask you to go with him?” Her tired eyes stare at me from across the coffee table. For a second I think that I shouldn't have bothered her with this, but I realize if I didn't she would've been mad I didn't keep her updated.