Unhinge - Calia Read

October 2014

Love holds so many secrets.

How it will hit.

When it will attack.

Where it will happen.

We are its playthings, walking around this world unaware that at any moment it will strike.

Don’t try to plan for it. Whether you fight or go willingly, love will wrap itself around you and when it does, you’ll never be free again.

I stared up at the fan slowly swirling above me. It was time to get ready for work. I knew that. But my mind wanted to take a trip down memory lane. I refuse to get sucked into the past and turn my head, but that’s a fool’s mistake because even though my bed was empty, I saw the image of my wife.

She was quietly sleeping. The sheets were drawn around her shoulders. The tips of her lashes brushed against her upper cheeks. One hand was draped across her forehead, the other hanging off the side of the bed.

The moment I met Victoria I should’ve known I was doomed. I should’ve paid attention. Felt the wind against my neck and the goosebumps that prickled my flesh. But I didn’t.

So I fell.

And I fell hard.

You could say our love was unreal.

Everything about Victoria was mysterious yet beguiling. Her smiles spoke of dreams, her lips the promise of something good to come. She held her secrets in one palm and her dreams in the next. And with her eyes dared me to choose one.

Ignoring them both, I went for her heart.

Then she became my wife.

Ripping the covers off, I got out of bed and walked over to the window. I jerked open the blinds. Clouds shielded the sun. A heavy fog swooped in and covered everything in a white blanket. I crossed my arms, musing that the fog was a lot like my wife. She covered herself around me, obscuring everything so I couldn’t see a thing. I would reach for her, but she was this tangible thing that I couldn’t quite reach.

There were no sounds of birds. No front doors closing or cars starting up. The world was silent, taking one big collective breath, waiting to see how Victoria and I would end.

Reluctantly, I stepped away from the window and went through my normal routine. I showered. I shaved. I dressed.

If Victoria were here she’d be asleep the whole time.

I glanced down at my watch. I had so many things I wanted to tell her. But our time was up.

Today’s date flashed on my phone. A bitter taste filled my mouth. My hands flew across the keyboard as I wrote her a quick email. I never wanted it to come to this. But Victoria left me no choice.

Before I could think twice, I pressed SEND, knowing that I could never reverse this decision no matter how hard I tried.

As I walked toward the door, I grabbed my bag. I hesitated when I saw the empty bed. I keep obsessing over it because it just seemed wrong, almost criminal for Victoria not to be there.

If she were, I would bend down and kiss her on the forehead. I would tell her that I loved her and that I had to go. She wouldn’t say anything, but her shoulders would tense and I’d know she heard me.

And then I would walk out of the room. At the doorway, I would look over my shoulder and stare at her body one last time, knowing that I would never understand my wife and how her mind worked.

November 2015

“Twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five.”

Abruptly, I turn around and walk toward the other side of the room, continuing to count my steps. My feet are starting to ache; I don’t exactly wear heels here. If ever. But for him, I’ll wear them.

He’ll be here soon. He comes almost every night, but what makes tonight different is I’m determined to get him to help me.

Thirty minutes ago, I started getting ready. I put on my favorite dress. A simple black wrap dress. It’s his favorite too. I brushed my hair until the brown strands fell around my shoulders perfectly and I put a coat of lipstick on. Sprayed perfume on both pulse points.

I straightened up my room, smoothing the edges of my plain white comforter. Folding one of Evelyn’s blankets and draping it over the back of the rocking chair in the corner.

I stopped my pacing, long enough to peek into the bassinet. Evelyn’s wide blue eyes meet mine. She happily coos and kicks her legs rapidly. The smile she brings to my face is genuine—natural and