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The only sound was the noise a willow tree makes when a breeze came. I had grown to hate the sound.
She had been crying for some time, I supposed. Her eyes were puffy and red. I felt to reach out and touch her face, to comfort her. But, I was the reason for the tears. I was powerless to stop them.
She sniffed, “Pete we have to talk.”
I perked up, something about the tone of her voice. Something that was not right. I kept silent, waiting.
Trying to get past the tears she cried out, “I can’t go on like this anymore. It has to stop.”
She closed her eyes to try and hold back more tears. Unsuccessful, she held a tissue to her eyes. Tracy seemed to cry even more when she opened her eyes to see her wedding and engagement rings, sparkling in the evening light. Still I was unable to reach out for her, to comfort her.
“Why did you leave!” she shrieked, “You left me when I needed you most…”
I tried to defend myself, but she cut me off.
“Do you know how many lonely nights I suffered? The nights alone in our bed!” she looked down then looked back her eyes filled with anger and sadness, “How hard it was to explain to Kasey that her daddy wasn’t coming back?!”
Stopping for a moment she went on, “How I had to get a second job for a while just to meet our expenses?” Tracy added angrily, “All because you couldn’t be responsible. Be a grown up about life.”
“You failed us.”
Then she fell silent. Grew thoughtful.
“We have to say goodbye,” she blurted out. I was stunned, the shock left me numb. I started to say something but she continued, “I need to move on with my life.”
She looked up and tried to smile, “I am dating again.”
My mind stopped and I felt my heart break at that simple statement. It was over.
How could I forget? My best friend growing up and roommate in college. The man that introduced me to Tracy. My……I stopped mid thought. No, I thought in horror, not him.
“We’ve gone out a few times.” She seemed to answer my thoughts, “He makes me laugh.”
“For a little while, when I’m with him, I feel somewhat whole again.”
She started fidgeting with her rings, “I need to move on. I need to feel whole again.”
She removed her rings and held them in the palm of her hand. She tightened her fist around them.
“Kasey needs a father.”
I felt everything start to get a little darker, my world starting to crumble. She held the rings to her lips and kissed them.
She gently placed the rings on my tombstone. She held her hand over it, traced the name engraved. “I’ll never forget you,” Tracy whispered then stood up and walked away. I watched unable to do anything. My world was silent.
Except the rustling of the willows in the distance.
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