It was a cold winter day of December when I begged Michael to leave. I had just turned twenty-eight, the time in which I needed to make my life clear, and he was closing in on thirty-five; the family age. He had been lying in bed with me, my rose red covers hugging his broad chest tightly, and his feet had been nearly hanging from the edge of my bed. His breath had come out uneven and his eyes were wide with surprise.
"What?" He had asked, the surprise causing the covers to shift slightly, showing a glimpse of his belly button.
"I need you to leave," I had said without looking at him, "please, just go."
"Melanie, I can't just go." He had begged then, his voice taking on the sound of a desperate man. "I love you."
"I know you do," I had closed my eyes and a trickle of tears wet my cheeks. "But you can't come to me anymore, you're a father now."
"I can't live without you."
"You did for the nine months that your wife was pregnant."
"That isn't fair," I could feel the shift of his weight on the mattress behind me as he cuddled me, his arm draped itself around my waist. "You have no idea how hard it was for me, I missed you more than you know."
"It doesn't matter." I had continued. "Please, if you love me as much as you say you do, please, just leave."
"I don't want to."
I had turned then, shifting myself away from his warm arm, and had willed myself to look him in the eyes. "I love you more than you will ever know."
"I love you too." His voice had been warm, breaking the ice around my heart. "But you know that I have responsibilities for my family and the business."
My heart had frozen then once more.
"Your life has no space for me."
"I'm here, aren't I?"
I had hugged my naked self under the covers, cowering away from his touch. "Please."
"Mel, I can't."
"You can, and you will."
His body tensed and his eyes drifted down, avoiding my lonely stare. "Okay."
I had half listened while he picked up his clothes that we had thrown all over the bedroom furniture in our haste. I had felt him staring at me one last time, pleading, but I kept my back to him.
After the front door had closed, the sound echoing endlessly in my darkened semi-detached house, I had felt the finality of my decision.
Four years of tortured love.
Four years of unmade promises.
The four years that I had been denying the truth were over. The love of my life was gone and now I only had my tears and gasps to keep me company.