Saved By The Lumberjack

Page 19

I never noticed how empty my house feels when it’s just me here. Or maybe it just never bothered me before her.
It was her decision to leave, I remind myself. She chose to go.
I eat my pasta, barely tasting the food. I can’t get the look of sadness on Daisy’s face out of my head. It’s like it’s been branded into my mind.
My phone buzzes and Marianne’s name pops up on the screen. I open the message.
Marianne: You’re an idiot.
My thumb hovers over the screen. Maybe I should just ignore her. The phone buzzes again.
Marianne: Don’t you dare ignore me, Burke.
Despite myself, I smile. It’s the first time I’ve smiled all day.
Me: What do you mean?
Marianne: You know exactly what I mean.
I grit my teeth.
Me: She chose to leave.
Marianne: And you didn’t try to stop her.
I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. It’s a feeling I’m becoming all too familiar with. Against my will, Sylvia’s face rises up in my mind’s eye. You never fought for me. You didn’t even try.
I push my half-eaten plate of food away, not feeling hungry anymore. Sighing, I stand up. Sylvia doesn’t know what she’s talking about. And neither does Marianne.
People make their choices. Why should I try to change their mind?
I grab a beer out of the fridge and sit down in front of the fireplace, watching the dancing flames. Usually, it brings me peace. But not tonight. I feel restless. And, truth be told, I feel lonely.
I’ve always enjoyed being alone. I never understood why people felt the need to be around other people constantly. I like solitude. I like not having to talk constantly.
But right now, I feel lonely. I miss her, and I fucking hate it. She chose to leave, I tell myself again. And you chose not to stop her. You didn’t even ask her to stay.
I slam my beer down and stand up angrily. This is a waste of time. I’m going to bed.
Once I’m under the covers, sleep won’t come. My bed still smells like her. It still smells like our sex. I could change the bedding, but… Fuck, I don’t want to.
You never fought for me. You didn’t even try.
I sit bolt upright in bed. Sylvia is full of shit, right? She has to be. She’s just looking for someone else to blame other than herself. But Marianne isn’t full of shit, and you know it.
Sighing, I reach for my phone and check the time. It’s only ten past nine. Marianne will still be awake.
She picks up after the second ring. “What’s on your mind, grumpy?”
I roll my eyes. “Nothing much.”
She snorts. “You’re a shit liar. But if you don’t want to talk, maybe you can listen: You fucked up, big time.”
“I know,” I say, surprising myself.
“Oh, really? You could’ve fooled me. Anyway, I take it you’ll be coming by to talk to her tomorrow?”