“I know why you’re here,” I tell Chris once more. We are seated on my couch, and I am bracing myself for a break-up speech.
“You do?” Chris frowns.
I nod. “Listen, I just want you to know I will respect the decision you make.”
“Hmm,” he rubs his chin. “Are you sure? Because I have made up my mind and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.” A tear rolls down my cheek; that’s it. It’s final. It is done. After all these years, Chris and I are over. “I have my letter ready and everything. I just need to deliver it.”
“What?” I open my eyes wide. “Letter?”
“Yea, yea,” he says distractedly, as if he has not noticed my astonishment. “I know you’ve said before that you don’t want me to do this, that you will miss me too much, but it’s the right thing to do. For us.” His jaw is set with determination.
I blink rapidly, trying to stop myself from going into a loud wail. “Don’t leave me…” I whisper because the frog in my throat won’t let my voice prosper.
“What?” Chris looks at me askance. “I’m not leaving you. I’m just leaving the job.”
Now it’s my turn to look at him askance. “The job?” I frown.
Chris sits back and looks at me as if I am high. “Have you been drinking?” His tone sounds accusatory.
“So now on top of breaking up with me you are accusing me of being a lush?!” I say sharply, standing up. Then I sit down quickly and temple my fingers in his lap. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout. I just… I don’t want us to break up.”
Chris looks really confused now. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Liz. Who said anything about breaking up?”
“Just now! You said you are leaving the office!”
“Yes! The office! Not you!”
My nose stops running and my tears run dry as a glimmer of hope pierces the darkness in my heart. “What?” I look up at Chris.
Chris sighs and shakes his head. “I have no idea what you are on about, babe, but I think you may need to catch a nap or something and get your head right.” I bite my tongue while he continues. “I’m offering my resignation tomorrow like I told you I would on Friday night. I’ve spent my weekend with my stomach upset, thinking through things. I’ll head into consultancy while I sort out my issues.”
“Oh, wow…” I say. “So you didn’t spend the entire weekend thinking I was insane?” he shakes his head. “You were thinking instead about how to make us better?” He nods. “Oh my goodness, I am so sorry,” I say.
Chris lifts my face by the chin, forcing me to look at him. “Yes, you’re a little crazy. Ok, a lot crazy. But it’s nothing we can’t work out. I’m not about to leave you any time soon, okay?”
“Okay,” I smile. And then almost instantly, my smile is replaced by dismay as I realise I took the girls through an afternoon of wasted time. But that’s not anything that they need to know.
“And how was your weekend?” Chris interrupts my thoughts.
“I just, you know… met with the girls. That sort of thing,” I say vaguely. “But do me a favour next time, please, ok?”
“What’s that?” he asks.
“Just let me know if you’re feeling unwell next time so that I don’t panic and jump to conclusions, ok?”
“Why didn’t you call me if you were worried and wondering where I am?” he counters.
“Well… I thought you were having fun without me,” I sniff.
Chris laughs. Then he turns somber. “You and I have a lot to work out. I am used to being single without anyone to answer to. And you have many insecurities. I can work on my reporting but baby, if you don’t work on your issues they will destroy us.”
I look into my lap, feeling rather ashamed. “I understand,” I nod.
“You’re just lucky I am a patient man,” he laughs. And on that note, I have to agree with him.