I sit across the table from the love of my life. We haven’t seen each other for a few days, and in just that short amount of time it seems like so much has changed.
The smiles he gives me are new, filling my stomach with butterflies - I haven’t felt those since we first got married.
I start to get up to dish myself more food but he waves me back down, grabbing my plate and offering to get me seconds along with a bit more wine.
I accept with a small smile, feeling thankful that he’s doing this small thing for me.
He returns and hands me my plate, then sits across from me. The night has been going so well, everything has an unexpected ease to it.
Our conversation feels light and unforced, threatening to fill me with giddiness.
We talk about everything and nothing, ignoring the deep questions, trying to keep from getting too serious, to just enjoy this moment together.
I turn behind me to look at the clock, marveling at how many hours have passed.
He slides his hand across the table and over mine. I startle and jump at the unexpected touch, but it’s gentle and caressing.
I turn to face him, his smile fading, slight but I think genuine concern and sadness visible as he notes my reaction. He holds his hand gently over mine, waiting for my response.
I hesitate a moment before closing my hand around his and a smile breaks out over his face again, making me happy that he’s happy.
We talk for a while longer, long after the food and most of the wine is gone. When it’s late we stand and embrace. Before long we’re kissing, softly, his hands running gently over me.
My muscles slowly relax, but I jump again as he hand brushes over the bruise on my left side. We pull back and I see the sorrow on his face.
He gently pulls me close again, whispering softly, finally addressing the questions we’ve been avoiding. He tells me he’s sorry. That he’d never do it again, that he can and has changed.
I bury my face in his chest as I start to cry. Tonight he’s been the man I married, and I needed it so much.
He’s crying too. We hold each other, comforting one another. Through tears he asks if he can stay tonight, to start making it better.
I need to say no.
He tells me things will be different now, that he’s going to see someone for his anger.
I should say no.
He tells me things will be different now, that he wouldn’t do that again.
Just say no.
He tells me things will be different now, that he loves me more than anything and he’d do anything to keep from losing me. He asks again if he can come home.
I pause, the silence stretching, his body tense as he waits for the answer.