I Don't Know You Anymore

I Don't Know You Anymore
©1999-2000
By Sarah
Short Story


        She yawned for the fifth time in the last ten minutes.  She was tired, tired emotionally and physically.  Tired of working, tired of being alone, tired of waiting.
        And she was still waiting for him to come home.
        She didnít know when he would, just that he would be late, as usual.  ĎDonít wait up for me,í he told her.  ĎGet some sleep, honey, Iíll be there as soon as I can.í  He always told her the same thing, over and over again, the same thing every night.  She was tired of it.
        ĎThatís it, I'm going to bed,í she thought as the cuckoo clock on the fireplace mantle chimed three a.m.  She yawned and stretched as she stood, getting up from the couch, walking slowly to the stairs.  She reached the top of the stairs and checked on her children as she passed their bedroom door.
        "Goodnight, Isabella, Alyssa," she whispered to her daughters.  She managed a small smile as the twin girls both tossed and turned in their toddler beds.  Barely three and they acted so old, so mature.  She finished her trek down the hall and ended at the master bedroom.  She walked in and changed quickly in the bathroom, doing her nightly routine.  She climbed into bed and accidentally hit the remote to the stereo, the CD inside playing quietly through the speakers.

I would like to visit you for a while
Get away and out of this city
Maybe I shouldnít have called but someone had to be the first to break
We can go sit on your back porch
Relax
Talk about anything
It donít matter
Iíll be courageous if you can pretend that youíve forgiven me

Because I donít know you anymore
I donít recognize this place
The picture frames have changed and so has your name
We donít talk much anymore
We keep running from the pain
But what I wouldnít give to see your face again

        She blinked back tears, realizing just how true the words were.  She did love her husband, but it seemed to be so long since she had really talked with himÖhell, talked to him.  So long since she spent quality time with him, since theyíd seen each other besides the time when they were rushing to or fro, or even catching up on a momentís sleep.  She couldnít do it anymore, the longer she thought about it, the longer she listened to the heartbreaking song, the more made up her mind was.  And the news sheíd received two days before was just the icing on the cake.

Springtime in the city
Always such relief from the winter freeze
The snow was more lonely than cold if you know what I mean
Everyoneís got an agenda
Donít stop keep that chin up youíll be all right
Can you believe what a year itís been
Are you still the same?
Has your opinion changed?

Because I donít know you anymore
I donít recognize this place
The picture frames have changed and so has your name
We donít talk much anymore
We keep running from these sentences
But what I wouldnít give to see your face again

        She quietly got up and started putting things in her suitcases, quietly packing up everything that held importance to her.  She stopped in the middle of her packing and hurried to her daughtersí room and packed up their things, everything fitting into one of the larger suitcases she possessed.  She set their suitcase downstairs in the foyer and felt tears spill over on her cheeks as the cuckoo clock struck four.  She hurried upstairs and finished packing her things, bringing the suitcases downstairs and bringing them to her four by four in the garage.  She loaded the luggage in the back and then left open the back door as she hurried back inside to get her daughters.  She picked up Alyssa and had a sudden flash back to two days prior.

        "Mommy, does Daddy have yellow hair or black hair?"  Alyssa asked as she shuffled through her crayons.
        "He has blond hair, baby, donít you remember?"
        "No, I thought his hair looked like Uncle Kevinís."

        She settled Alyssa in the backseat of the car, in the toddler seat, and buckled her up.  Alyssa had slept through the short trip downstairs and to the garage, clutching the doll her father had bought the day she was born.  It was slightly beat up, but she loved that doll.  She was always proud to say that Daddy had bought it for her.  But what use was that if she couldnít even remember what her father looked like?

I know I let you down
Again and again
I know I never really treated you right
Iíve paid the price
I'm still paying for it every day

        She wiped away more tears as she climbed the stairs again and picked up Isabella.  She looked just like her father, thick blond hair and clear blue-green eyes, with the personality to match.  She was typically the more energetic one, the twin that would keep you occupied for hours on end.
        "Shh, its ok, baby," she whispered as Isabella started to whimper in her sleep.  Isabella calmed and she placed the child in the toddler seat, buckling her in and covering her with her blanket.  The one heíd gotten her when she was born.  Her and her blanket were inseparable.

So maybe I shouldnít have called
Was it too soon to tell?
Oh what the hell
It doesnít really matter
How do you redefine something that never really had a name?
Has your opinion changed?

        "One last thing," she said to herself as she walked back into the kitchen from the garage.  She wrote a quick note and left it on the kitchen counter, hoping he would be home sometime that week to stop in the kitchen for food and see it.  She fought a break down as she walked back out to her car and got in the driverís seat.  She started the car and backed out of the driveway, coming to an almost abrupt halt as his sports car nearly rammed into her.
        "Whatís wrong, babe, where are you going?"  He asked as he got out of his car, running around to her window.
        She shook her head.  "I need to leave."
        "Why, whatís wrong?"  He asked, trying to reach for her through the window.  She backed away as more tears fell and she saw his face turn slack as he saw his daughters and the luggage in the back.
        "Why are you leaving?  Where are you going?"  He asked, almost emotionless.
        "I canít do this anymore.  Alyssa doesnít know what her own father looks like, Isabella canít even say Daddy anymore without wondering exactly who he is, if heís the man that comes to help Mommy with the cleaning every week or if heís the pizza delivery man.  And meÖ" she took a deep breath.  "I donít know my husband anymore."
        "Baby, I'm your husband.  I'm the same person I was five minutes ago, five months ago, hell, five years ago.  I havenít changed," he pleaded.
        "Yes you have, I wake up each morning without you, I go to sleep each night wondering if youíll make it home all right.  I canít keep doing that, I canít keep up a charade that I donít even know the answer.  I need to leave," she repeated.
        "But, honey-"
        "Nick, please!"  She cried, finally looking at him and letting the tears flow.
        He was silent, looking at her face, in her eyes, worry creasing his soft, flawless complexion.  "Baby, donít cry," he finally whispered, wiping away the tears.  "Come back inside and weíll work this out, please.  Just help me bring the girls inside and put them back in bed.  Weíll talk this all out, I wonít leave until we do," he begged, tears coming to his own eyes.
She was about to give in.  About to break down and agree, following him inside with the girls and forgetting she ever did all of this.  Forgetting that she ever thought to leave him.
        "No."  She swallowed a sob as she saw the heartbroken look appear on his face.  "No, I canít do it.  This isnít just for me, its for my girls," she said, looking away from his blue eyes.  ĎAnd for my baby,í she thought as she glanced down at her lap, taking a deep breath, deciding against telling him.
        "What?"
        "I said no.  I'm not going to let your job ruin my life and my girlsí lives.  I know the second we get inside, youíll get another call about another earth-shattering decision, or about the next tour, or about a new artist one of your employees found.  No, Nick, I canít do it."
        "Emily, please, baby, I love you," he pleaded, tears coursing down his face.
        Emily shook her head.  "Goodbye, Nick," she finally whispered.  She gently pushed his arm out of the car and rolled up the window, backing out of the driveway and driving away.  The tears flowed harder as she turned the corner.  She hit the power button on the CD player next to her and lowered the volume, waiting as it warmed up and started where it last left off.

Because I donít know you anymore
I donít recognize this place
The picture frames have changed and so has your name
We donít talk much anymore
We keep running from the pain
But what I wouldnít give to see your face again

I see your face
 I see your face

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