He would be home late again, he thought, with a flimsy excuse. It didn't matter—she was already suspicious, and really, it was not all his fault. A good portion of guilt belonged to her. If she had been fulfilling her part of their commitment, participated in their marriage, he would be home at that moment, perhaps cuddling with his wife on the couch for a movie. But she had not honored that commitment; she had failed him. What he did now was not betrayal or revenge—it was the only road left open to him.
He would be home late again, she thought, with another flimsy, transparent excuse to toss at her as he crawled into bed. It didn't matter anymore—she knew. She had known for a long time. But was it really all his fault? Had she pushed him towards this? Did a portion of the guilt belong to her? Not entirely, she knew. He had not fulfilled the commitment he made to her. Had he been an active participant in their marriage he would be home with his wife at that moment, perhaps even cuddling with her on the couch. But he had not fulfilled that commitment—he had betrayed her. He had failed her, and tonight she would take the only road left open to her.
When he pulled up to the house that night, the windows were dark, and the shine of his headlights was like the flash of a lighthouse over the dark ocean. He entered as quietly as possible, moving stealthily so as not to wake her. The bedroom was deathly still, and he froze as a chill ran down his spine—the light sound of her steady breathing was missing. He turned on the light and found, instead of her sorrow-etched sleeping face, a note upon the pillow.
When she pulled up to the intersection, the streets were so dark the shine of her headlights washed over the stop sign like a beacon at sea. She began entering slowly, checking the opposing streets. The night was deathly still, and she froze as a sound erupted on her left, sending a burning rush of adrenaline through her body. She floored the pedal in panic, but the old car produced too little momentum and she heard, instead of the rush of a vehicle behind her and the pounding of her heart, the sickening crunch of metal echoing under the stars.
He couldn't go home again, he thought. Not without her. Nothing mattered anymore—she was gone, and it was all his fault. A good portion of himself had died with her. If only he had been fulfilling his part of their commitment, participated in their marriage, fought for it, he could be home at that moment, perhaps cuddling with his beloved on the couch. But he had not honored that commitment. He had already failed her—what he did now was not an apology or atonement—it was the only road left open to him.