Her Goodbye: A Short Story.

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By: Brandon Jamil

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As I take out the tonight’s roast with potatoes and asparagus. I can hear Terri in the living room screaming at the television; Every Monday during foot ball season he goes through almost every emotion possible for the duration of the game. I begin to take the plates down and prepare tonight’s dinner. Randomly my phone alerts me that I have a notification. I rinse my hands off and view the message. Another reminder of a travel nomadic class coming up. I scroll down the article, and I am also reminded that tonight I must tell Terri I plan on getting out of this town. While I’m reading the article Terri walks into the kitchen and kisses me on the cheek. I put my phone away and smile. “Dinner will be ready soon,” I said. Terri walked out of the kitchen and resumed his Foot Ball as the commercials were over.

I sit down on at the kitchen table with my phone and read the life of many women whose traveled the world and gained their own independence. I can hear my Terri turn off the television and head into the kitchen. Quickly, I get up out of my chair and begin plating the food. Terri sits down and looks at me. “What’s got into you Diane? You’ve been quiet all night,” He said. I look over at Terri with a fake smile and say: “It’s nothing Terri, it’s been a long day today. I am just ready for bed.”

I place the plates on the table and sit across from Terri. “I have to fix the leak under the bathroom sink tomorrow. One of the guys from work is going to come over this weekend and help with some of the tree trimmings we need to get done in the back yard.” Terri said. I can’t help but ignore Terri’s banal conversation about things I don’t care about. “Terri, I’ve been thinking about traveling. Taking some time off work for a while and pursue some interests of mine,” I said. “Sounds good, do you have the vacation time available? Where do you want to go?” Terri asked. “I haven’t looked to see how much time I have available. I was thinking Nepal, perhaps back packing, understanding the culture. I want to take a few months away and just travel. So many women are doing it now and I think it’ll make me happy,” I said.

“What do you mean travel for months? You’re quitting your job? What about our bills and our life? What about our relationship? Why would you just leave? We have everything here. We have a home, we’re working on a family. Diane, I want you to be happy, but this is not the time for you to go on a vacation and explore.” Terri said. I paused for a moment and allowed Terri’s cutting words permeate my body. “Terri, the bills will be fine. I have more than enough saved up to pay my portion of the bills. To be honest, I hate my job. I hate this town and I hate our neighbors. Day in and day out it’s the same thing, repeatedly. The highlight of our relationship is home improvements and we talked about having children two years ago. I am not getting any younger and I want to pursue the life I truly want, and I don’t want to wait anymore for something to just happen. Just yesterday I was at the market, and I overheard some clerk say that she was born and raised here. That woman has three kids and has never left. I can’t be that woman. I refuse to be that woman. I want to go marvel at the world, fall madly in love with new passions and maybe learn a new language. Every woman must follow her heart and sniff out adventure,” I said.

“Let me get this right, you read online or watched some tv show that tells you that you should abandon all life’s responsibilities for the sake of traveling and adventure; and then call it following your heart. Seem irresponsible to me. I just don’t get why you can’t be happy here with me. You said you wanted the same things, you actively worked towards the same goals and suddenly you have a change of heart? No, there must be some other reason. Am I not making you happy? Did I do something to make you want to leave our relationship?” Terri asked.

“Terri, it has nothing to do with you. I am ready for a new life, I want more than this insipid soon to be house wife role. My entire life has been about following all the rules. Graduating college, making good money, finding a decent mate, and now kids. Guess what? I don’t want it anymore. I want to be free from that life. I want to be like the women I read about, these women run their own businesses and travel the world and inspire younger women to be and do whatever the hell they want and when they want; with no apology!” I said.

“Diane, can’t you find yourself here? You don’t need to travel the world and act like you’re twenty-two again. The last time you did this, you wanted to remodel the house because all the wives in the neighborhood were upgrading theirs. You just don’t stop!” Terri said. “Terri, I’ve made my decision. In a month, I will leave my job, and move out of here. I’d rather risk it all and lose everything if it means I can become the woman I want to be,” I said. “You don’t just quit our relationship and life Diane. You don’t give up on love simply because life isn’t what you want it to be.” Terri said.

“Terri, I’m sorry. I can’t be the woman you once knew, and I can’t continue to live this lie. Pretending to be happy, catering to everyone of your needs. I love you, but I love me more,” I said.

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