“To wake alone was the oddest feeling. After all, we spent ten years together. I held my breath out of habit and turned to his empty space. My heart flip-flopped as I realised he was gone. His pillow still smelled of him: a mixture of anger and Hugo Boss.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed and waited for his rough hands to grab my shoulders. Tensing my muscles, I closed my eyes. But his hands didn’t find me. This—my first day without him—was my chance to begin again.
Butterflies danced around in my stomach, reminding me of the significance this day held. Pulling my mouth into a smile, I headed downstairs for breakfast. My eyes watered as I entered the kitchen and realised I could have whatever I wanted. I wiped the tears away with the back of my hand. This would take some getting used to.
As I sat, cradling my steaming cup of coffee, I thought about everything that happened over the last week. The hospital, the police. The shame of my secret being public knowledge. My chin wobbled, and my eyes stung. I clenched my teeth and swallowed the sobs that were threatening to take over again.
Today was the first stepping stone for the rest of my life. Why did I have so much trouble remembering that? It’s funny how your mind focusses on the good times, blocking out the bad. Even when the bad were so bad you almost didn’t survive. I shook my head, hoping the frightened thoughts would fall out.
I had imagined that day for years. I thought it would be all bright lights and music. In reality, it was lots of tears and self-doubt, fused with the tiniest amount of hope. My heart stretched tightly across my chest, giving my lungs a hard time. Even so, I was a little lighter than before it happened. On that morning, I wasn’t treading eggshells. My world had shifted. My world was safe.”