He left the room.
He left it too soon,
And with tension yet unrelieved,
Taut as a steel cable
He got in the car.
Slamming the door,
Stomping the clutch,
And throwing the lever to R
Before the car even caught its breath.
This was his happy place.
Built by his own two hands
It caused more problems than it solved,
But he didn’t care.
And that was the Big Problem.
He turned onto the highway.
Made his way to the left lane,
To let the white lines numb his pain,
But the tightness in his chest stayed.
The cable between him and his wife,
His whole life,
Pulling him ever backward.
He wanted to go forward.
So he kicked the clutch,
Punched the gas,
Rowed through the gears
And didn’t let up.
The red needle moved steadily clockwise.
80 and he’s passing people.
90 and he’s getting stares.
100 and his face is burning.
110 and watercolor blue lights are behind him.
120 and he doesn’t care.
130 and the tears are tickling his beard, salty on his lips.
140 and the cable’s tension is rising.
150 and the road is blurry, the white lines are one.
160 and his eyes are closed.
170 and his hands are off the wheel.
173 and the car is shaking.
175 and he’s thinking of her.
176 and the cable snaps.
The officers found the letter in the ruined glove box, remarkably unscathed.
He was leaving her, for all the reasons she knew he would.
All the emotional manipulation, gas-lighting, micromanaging “love.”
She couldn’t believe he made it as long as he did.
She knew her own issues, she knew the injustice.
She wished she could change,
But more than that,
She wished he’d delivered the letter when he wrote it.
It was dated 2 years ago.