I listened to the front door close, then slowly moved through the house, allowing my fingers to softly glide along every surface, every doorframe, every wall. Once I reached the last emptied space, I walked inside and stared at the four walls, the walls I’d had so many plans for, the walls I’d thought my future belonged within.
“Over here, we’ll put the dressers and the changing table, and the crib will go here! We can get the kind that turns into a bed down the line, and over it, I want to write the baby’s name in those big block letters with some kind of quote and—” I was out of breath with excitement, and Finn walked over to me, wrapping his arms around my body, pulling me close.
He kept smiling as he shook his head back and forth. “Don’t you think we should wait until we’re actually pregnant before we plan the nursery?”
“Yes,” I agreed, biting my bottom lip, “but after ten positive pregnancy tests over the past two days, I think we’re on the right path.”
Finn’s eyes lit up faster than I’d ever seen. I loved how his blue eyes were always so stunningly blue. Those eyes still gave me butterflies, even after so much time.
“You’re…?” he started.
“You mean, we’re…?”
“So we’re going to have…?”
His eyes watered over, and he lifted me, swinging me around in the air and planting kisses all over my face. When he lowered me back to the floor, he looked at me in such a way that, even without words, I could feel his love.
“We’re going to have a baby,” he whispered, pressing his lips softly against mine.
“Yes.” I brushed my lips against his, and when he exhaled, I took a deep breath. “We’re going to have a baby.”
The room darkened as I flipped the switch to shut off the light, and as I walked away from the space, the memories still lingered.
I’d thought those memories would be the ones I always cherished, but as the days and years passed by, those beautiful memories became my pain.
After turning off all the lights, I picked up the last suitcase left in the house—a black one with pink flowers. It was from the time Finn and I brought back too many souvenirs from our honeymoon.
I pulled the suitcase away from a place I’d thought would always be home, and I mourned the ideas of a future that was no longer mine.
It only took a few minutes to sign the paperwork at the bank and turn our keys over to the banker. I sat directly beside Finn, but still, he felt miles and miles away. When we stood to leave, he walked to his car, and I walked to mine.
“Finley,” I called out, uncertain why his name had even fallen from my mouth. He looked up and arched an eyebrow, waiting for me to speak. My lips parted, yet the words I wanted to come out stayed dancing in my mind. Let’s grab lunch and maybe a movie for now…until you love me again.
“Nothing. Never mind.”
He released a heavy sigh. “What is it, Grace?”
“Nothing, really.” I rubbed my hand up and down my arm.
“Here we go again,” he muttered, and my chest tightened.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re just doing that thing you always do.”
“What thing I do?”
“That thing where you start to express your feelings and then you pull them back, saying never mind. Do you know how impossible that makes it to communicate?”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“Of course, you are,” he replied. “Look, I have to go. When we get to Chester, we can tell our parents we’re splitting. We should probably do it separately. We’re gonna have to face these kinds of things on our own, so we might as well get used to it, okay?”
Stay strong. Don’t cry.
I was on my way to spend the summer in Chester, seeing how my apartment in Atlanta wouldn’t be ready for me to move into until August. On one note, moving back to Chester terrified me because it wouldn’t take long for people to realize Finn and I weren’t together anymore. On another note, I was secretly excited to be in the same place as Finn. On the same sidewalks where we first fell in love. Maybe having that connection would make him look at me the way he used to. I had a summer to make my husband fall in love with me again.
I climbed into my car, and when I turned the key, the engine sputtered. Oh no. I turned it again, and it made a scratching noise. Finn cocked an eyebrow my way, but I tried to ignore his stare. My car was ancient, a little pink Buick I’d had since the day I left for college. The only thing I’d had in my life longer than that car was Finn, and now that he was on his way out, Rosie was the oldest thing that belonged to me.