She looked at herself in the rearview mirror. She looked terrible. Her eyes were swollen and red. She had been crying all night. Damn him! How could he do this to her? Her hands gripped the steering wheel so tightly that her knuckles began to lose their color. Let go of the wheel she told herself. She knew that she couldn't sit in that car forever. She'd be late for work for one thing and another thing was the summer heat was beginning to build up in the car. She considered turning on the air conditioner. Then decided that the gas would run out and then she'd be back where she started. She had no choice but to go inside. The sun beamed down on her as she ran into the building. Inside, the air was cool on her pale face. It felt good; a contrast to the hot tears that had covered her face last night and this morning. She had finally stopped crying long enough to make herself somewhat presentable. That seemed like a miracle in itself. She didn't think she had the strength to stop crying and felt as if she would start bawling again at any moment. She walked to the time clock and punched in. There was no one around for the moment. She was thankful for that. As she made her way to the lounge area, she heard the voices of her friends. Someone had made a joke and they were all laughing. She stopped outside the door not wanting to go in. They would know instantly that something was wrong. Damn him! She hated crying, but even more she hated other people knowing that she cried. She told herself that she couldn't stand there all day. There was no way of avoiding them. She opened the door and walked into the room without looking at anyone. They were still laughing. She wondered what was so funny, but there was no telling with this group. They were always giggling at something. Someone made another comment and the group burst into laughter again. She wished that she could have shared their amusement, but happiness seemed impossible. The laughter subsided as she let herself fall into the big armchair in the corner.
"Geez, Kim. You look like crap. What happened to you? Your dog die?", Michelle asked.
All eyes in the room were now focused on her. She wanted to melt into the chair and not have to answer that question. The words would not come, instead tears filled her eyes. She closed her eyes to keep them in and to shut out the girls. The attention was still focused on her when she raised her lids. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. They were waiting for an answer and would probably bug her all day if she didn't give them one. She looked down at her hands and mumbled the words she didn't think she could say aloud, "he left me." The room filled with comments from her friends. Words of sympathy, disbelief and anger were jumbled together in her head. She heard everything and nothing at all. The only thing that she could think about was that he had left her. When she got home last night he had all his things packed. He told her that he didn't know what he wanted to do, but he knew that he had to go. He left her standing there with the keys to the house that was now hers and not theirs. Kim opened her mouth to tell them that she was okay, but all she could manage were sobs. He had left her.Back to Stories