1. It had to be no more and no less than 500 words.
2. It had to leave the reader wanting more, but still explain a situation - a serious situation - so that the reader could understand.
3. It had to evoke emotion.
With that being said, I think I've done that. I title this little piece 'Alone'. Do you think I hit my target this Friday?
"It's not you,” he said barely above a whisper, “it's me." His brown eyes glistened, reddened by tears that rolled down his face. He turned away, ashamed.
I reached up and cupped his chin in my hand. "But, why? Why now? Why after everything we've been through?"
His bottom lip trembled and he looked down, refusing to answer me.
"Please, James! Please tell me, why?" I begged. I wrapped my arms around him and held on for dear life. I could feel his heartbeat quicken through his rigid torso.
"I can't . . ." he said, as he pulled away from me.
"You can't, what? You can't be with me? Why?" I wanted an answer. After eleven years I felt I had a right to know why.
"Of course it's complicated, James. Three kids, a house, a dog, bills . . ." I rambled. "It's all complicated. That's just life, you learn to deal and move on."
He swallowed hard. I could see his Adam’s apple bobble up and down. He was nervous. I didn’t have to assume that, it was painted all over his face. He was afraid to tell me the truth.
"That's just it, we need to move on," he whispered.
Without another word of explanation, he turned away from me and walked toward the front door. "I never said it was because of you, please remember that," he stated before he reached for the handle.
"So that's it? You're leaving? This is over?" My mind was racing, unsettled, unanswered. The question, 'Why?' thundered in my ears.
He gave the handle a quick twist and opened the front door.
"Why, James? Can't we work something out? Couples therapy, hypnotists, how about a vacation, something . . ." I tried desperately to get him to answer me. "Please," I begged, "Please don't go."
With a sigh, he shook his head.
I gripped the chair in front of me, afraid I was going to fall. What was I going to tell the children? How could I afford this house? Our car? Our bills? I couldn’t do this alone. I needed him.
Without changing his mind, he stepped outside. I couldn’t tell if he gave me one last look or said goodbye, I was too caught up in my own grief.
The door closed behind him and I was left in the kitchen, alone.