Looking out the window, he knew it was over. He had known it was over for awhile now, but pride kept him from truly accepting it. He was slowly washing dishes from dinner as she was explaining the reasons their marriage was ending. But to be honest, he hadn’t heard anything since, “I don’t love you anymore.” Nothing else mattered. All the words that were said after that were just formalities.

He was numb. It seemed as though there should be much to say, yet he felt it was better to not say anything at all. He still loved her deeply,  but in that moment his words failed him. He knew that he would regret his silence. At this point, who cares? he thought. Nothing he said would change what was happening. She was gone. Looking into her eyes now yielded the coldest chill he had ever felt in his entire life.

So this is how ten years of marriage ends? No fight. No argument. Just, “I don’t love you anymore.”
You can design a strategy for the big events in life. That’s why you take out insurance for things like floods, fire, and earthquakes — those can be planned for. No one thinks to plan for, “I don’t love you anymore.” No one would ever get married if that were the case.

Deep down he knew it, but hearing her say it made it feel like there was someone sitting on his chest. He found it hard to breathe. Five little words. That’s all it took for ten years of marriage to unravel in an instant.

How does one fall out of love?  he wondered. Slowly, over time I guess.

She was through talking now, just looking at his blank expression.

“Well?” she asked. “Do you have anything to say?”

After drying his hands he picked up the keys to his car and said, almost whispering, “I’ll be back later.”

“Where are you going?”she asked quizzically.

He didn’t have a good answer. He didn’t know, really, just that he couldn’t stay there in that house listening to all the reasons why she didn’t love him anymore. He wanted to be alone.

He found himself pulling up to the lake 20 minutes north of where they lived. He got out of the car and walked to the water’s edge, kneeled down and found a flat stone that fit into the palm of his hand, and skipped it across the lake as far as he could. Feeling a tinge of pain in his shoulder from the toss, he stared out over the water and realized how beautiful the sunset was. The yellowish-orange hue of the clouds was mirrored against the stillness of the water, almost as if the sky and the lake were together ablaze.

At least I have the sunset,” he muttered to himself.

He was over the shock now. The beauty of nature always had a way of calming him.

How are we going to explain this to the kids?” he asked, almost as if his wife were standing there beside him. Tanner, 5, and Maci, 3, wouldn’t understand. Hell, he barely understood.

They’ll take it alright, I suppose. But how did you take it when your parents divorced? Holidays will never be the same for them. They will have to split time between their mother and I from now on. “It’ll never be the same,” he said shaking his head. 

And as he stood there gazing up at the sky, a slight summer breeze picked up from the south rippling the water all across the lake.

“It sure is a beautiful night,” he said to himself.

But the sun slowly crept down below the horizon until the light had left the clouds, and total darkness soon fell upon everything around him.

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Photo by Ryan McGuire (Gratisography.com)
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