Thursday Threads Week 24

“I can’t do this anymore.” The words broke free from her throat, as hoarse and parched as her heart felt – like it had bled free of all emotion.

But that wasn’t the truth. Inside, she felt as if she were dying.

She hazarded a glance to where he stood in front of her. They’d met by the park bench – the one near the hotel where they’d spent so many stolen hours.

Moments she should have been spending with her husband.

Moments his wife stared at the clock, wondering why his meetings were taking so long.

“We have to stop this,” she added. “You know we do.”

He didn’t answer, his arms rigid, his hands opening and closing into empty fists. The stillness between them was a dense, solid thing – a quiet cloud of shame and regret. It blocked out the warming rays of sunlight and musical chirping of birds in the branches above them.

Two finches suddenly took flight from the leaves, and the whir of wings broke the silence.

“You’re really ending this then?” he finally asked.

She nodded, her fingers moving of their own accord, reaching out to him for one last comforting touch.

He turned before she could reach him, though, and walked away from her life without even uttering a goodbye.

Judge Claire Jillian said:

OK huge personal bias with this one because it’s incredibly reminiscent of my NPR round 8 submission that’s on my blog right now, only in my story, the man texted his lover and ended it right before they were to run off together. So…I’m already a sucker for a tale of illicit love come to a bittersweet ending with one wanting the split and the other barely cloaking his devastation with a deadly calm manner.

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