I didn’t feel like giving up – not yet – but I knew my capacity for pain was nearing its limit. If I could steady myself. Could I make it up the stairs without him? An unsteady inch at a time.
I could no longer hear the outside wind… it all seemed to be blowing inside my head. Half-remembered pauses. Shrouded whispers. Images in a flip book, ever moving, ever changing. Mostly, I saw Jeremiah, standing in the barn yard. He did not look shocked, or even particularly afraid. When he looked at me, seeing the shotgun still pointing at him and ready to shoot again, I think he saw the very thing in me that he tried so hard to smother. My anger. My frustration. My disappointment. He saw me, saw the shotgun, and saw everything. He understood. He didn’t burn it out of me at all. He fed the fire, fistfuls at a time. I think that was his final realization. That it didn’t have to be that way.
But neither he nor I could have changed our ways. That was the horror of it. We were going to collide. From my first “I do” to my last “I won’t”, we were marked, and it was going to end in blood. I was lucky enough to recognize that truth about us first.