My Best Friend's Ex(6)

By: Quinn & Meghan Quinn

I hop in my truck without a response, shaking my head at my overenthusiastic friend. No way in fuck would I give away man-gina stress balls. No one wants that.

The drive from the job site to my house is short, because I don’t live very far away. At times I wish I did. It’s not because I enjoy driving with my window down, feeling the winter air hit me in the face, but because I hate being at my house. Correction. I hate being at my house alone.

I hate every second of its emptiness, of what it represents, of why I bought it in the first place. It’s a reminder of my past I wish I could forget. I wish I could let go.

I turn right onto my street and pull into the driveway. When I cut the engine, I stare at the small Cape Cod with its brick chimney and mint-green vinyl siding. The windows are dark showing no sign of living inside because I don’t bother leaving a light on for myself—there’s no point. My routine is simple: I get home and head straight to my bedroom after I brush my teeth and take a leak. I don’t bother with dinner—not when I eat a box of Little Debbie snacks—I don’t hang out in the living room because there’s no furniture. The place is empty apart from my bedroom. It’s the only place in my house that doesn’t make me feel crippled with nausea.

Sighing, I pull the keys from the ignition of my truck, stuff my wallet and phone in my pockets, and go to the side door of my house that connects to the kitchen. Knowing the place like the back of my hand, there is no need to flip on any lights as I navigate through the hollow walls toward the only bathroom between the two downstairs bedrooms.

After ten hours on the job site, my body is screaming for a hot shower. I strip out of my dark green Henley and plaster-covered jeans and turn on the shower to a scalding temperature, glad to burn my skin like I do every night to try to rid of the crawling sensation I feel every time I walk into this godforsaken house.

Leaning on the bathroom counter, I look in the mirror as the shower heats up. Battered and tired eyes stare back at me. I look older than my twenty-four years. I feel fucking older than my twenty-four years. With the life experiences I have under my belt, the disappointments, the losses I’ve lived through, I feel like I’m in my mid-thirties. What’s the phrase? Life sucks and then you die?

Steam billows from the top of the shower. I step past the plain curtain and welcome the heat against my body. The water pelts me in the back, so hot it almost feels cold, just how I like it. I hiss between my teeth, letting the water run down my back to where it pools at my feet before draining away. If only it took my sorrow with it.

Fourteen months ago, I bought this house for a very specific reason: to start a family with my pregnant girlfriend. I wanted to provide for her, to prove I could be the man she needed, convince her that I was the man she could rely on. The involved and caring father I knew I could be. I was happy, fucking ecstatic; my girl was pregnant with my baby. Yeah, we had our problems. Our relationship was off and on for a while, but I believed deep in my fucking soul that we were meant to be together, that we were made for one another.

But the world had other plans.

The day after I signed the papers for this house, I got the call. My girl had woken up to blood; blood fucking everywhere.

Sadie miscarried. Lost our baby. I’d never felt such devastation in my life. Some might say I was too young to even realize the impact that had on my future, but fuck them. I’ve had to grow up pretty quickly in my life, and I’ve been adulting longer than some actual adults. I know what loss is, and that night, holding Sadie’s hand in the hospital while they told us we’d lost the baby, that was loss. That was devastation. Crippling.

But nothing prepared me for the cataclysmic damage that would happen next. Nothing prepared me for seeing the girl of my dreams pull away mentally and physically. Nothing prepared me for the day I learned she was seeing someone else. And nothing prepared me for when Sadie moved on and began living her life with another fucking man.

I didn’t just lose my baby. No, I lost my girl too. And fuck if I was ready for that.

She said we were growing apart before we lost the baby, that our relationship was hanging on by a thread, but I refuse to acknowledge that. In my mind, there was always hope for Sadie and me, she just gave up. On us. On me.

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