Mr and Mrs(6)

By: Alexa Riley

“Molly?” I call, thinking maybe she’s in the bathroom. But as I start to search the house, I see that every room is silent and empty of her energy.

“Molly!” This time I shout down the hall, letting my panic set in. It’s time for her to stop playing games.

I hurry to the front of the condo, grab my phone, and go to the kitchen. I check my messages but don’t see one from her, so I send one, checking in. She must have forgotten to tell me she was out doing something tonight. Maybe I can meet up with her. I miss her so much already, and I don’t like the idea of her being out so late without me. I should have been here to go with her. I shake my head at myself.

I wait for just a moment, and my eyes slide over to what caught my eye when I first entered. It’s a small piece of paper, and I reach out and slide it toward me.

I feel as if someone has punched me in the gut. I look over to see her wedding rings on the granite next to it, and I fall to my knees. My heart is beating in my ears, and I can’t process what’s happening. It’s like I’m in a tunnel, but I’m falling. My breath comes out fast, and I see black spots in my vision. Just before the blackness takes over, the words flash again in front of me.

I can’t do this. Don’t follow me.

Chapter Three


“Wow, Molly, that’s really good.” I look over at Oscar. He’s holding a white bag that I’m guessing came from Elaine’s Diner, the local eatery only two blocks down from the beach. He smiles at me, the sun hitting his dark hair, making all his grays show.

My eyes go back to the painting I’ve been working on all morning, and for the first time, I see it. It’s a moment in my life I could never forget. Branded. I could paint this in my sleep, if I was sleeping that is.

“I’d love to know what he’s looking at,” he adds, sitting down next to me on the old, white, chipped wooden bench that looks out onto the beach. I’ve come to feel like it’s my bench over the past few months. I spend most of my time on this beach doing this. Painting.

I took up residence on it today before the sun really even started to rise over the endless ocean. Everything around me waking up, coming back to life, leaving me behind in the darkness. I don’t sleep anymore. I don’t know how someone can be so exhausted and not be able to sleep. I just keep thinking I’ll crash, but as soon as I do, I wake moments later. The bittersweet dreams are more than I can bear. Taunting and torturing me.

Who knew sweet memories could cut so deep? Make you not want to close your eyes at night because you know what you’ll see? Make you ache for something you can’t have? I’ve even started to question myself as to what I’d really seen in Phillip’s office that night because not once have I dreamed about that night. No. All that ever seem to come are the things that made me fall in love with him. Ache to be with him so deeply I didn't think there was a bottom to it.

The nights he’d hold me close and tell me all the things we were going to do together. The life that we would have. That he wanted that life, too, never having had a family of his own. He’d always make me smile when he’d tell me he’d never wanted one until he met me. That he’d just been waiting for me to come and wake him up. That things had been so lonely before me. That he hadn’t even realized he was. That he wasn’t really living until me. Once again making me feel like the center of his world.

And maybe I could have that life if I could be that woman who looked the other way. It was pathetic because I’d actually contemplated it. The ache of not having him hurting more than him having an affair.

“Me,” I finally say, realizing I hadn’t answered Oscar. It’s the first time I met Phillip. I’d walked into my father’s study, and there he was, waiting for my father to get back. I’ll never forget the look on his face. His sharp, deep blue eyes narrowed on me, then lit up his face, a dimple showing that only I could ever seem to get from him. My dimple. I’ve kissed it hundreds of times. It was instant. I knew in that moment I’d love that man until I took my last breath. No one had ever looked at me like that. He’d made me feel like the world began and ended with me.