The Dreaded 'D' Word
Mark crossed the threshold of your home, far later than he had anticipated. With a potential client that could bring in large capital to his company, he had been working like a dog, day and night to make sure that they would be prepared for whatever the potential client required. The responsibility meant less hours at home, but that wasn’t any different to how it had been the past few years, so he thought nothing of it.
Until he spotted you on the dining table, holding a glass of wine in your hand and an emotion that he didn’t recognise on your face.
Carefully, he padded over to where you sat and planted a soft kiss on your temple before heading over to the fridge to grab himself a bottle of water. Leaning on the counter, he gulped a quarter of it down before looking in your direction, just as you polished off the last of your wine.
Standing up, you moved towards the kitchen sink, brushing past him to wash your glass and put it away. Once you’d closed the shelf, you stood across from him, leaning your body on the other end of the counter.
Mark sighed and placed his bottle on the stone bench. “I’m sorry that I’m late, it’s been hell at the office—”
“I want a divorce,” you blurted out, no longer able to keep it in.
With quivering lips and hands busy clutching the hem of your night shirt, you tried again. “Mark, I want a divorce.”
Mark heard you the first time, his heart shattering to little pieces. He was sure he stopped breathing. This couldn’t be happening, he thought as he begged himself to wake up from this nightmare. But, you repeated yourself and he knew that this was now his reality. “Why?”
Looking heavenward, you begged for the strength to go through with this and for your tears to not betray you. “Mark, we’ve been married for five years but we both know that the last few haven’t been the same,” you explained. “We’re drifting further and further apart each day. Our marriage is so cold and lonely. I feel like a stranger in our own home.”
Gripping the counter tight, Mark knew that you were right. He had been feeling the exact same way as you but he thought that you would both find a way to get yourselves back. Never in a million years did he think you both would end up where you were. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he forced himself to ask you the question. “Is there someone else?”
“No, there isn’t. I could never… I just — I can’t do this anymore, Mark. I know it’s shit and I know it’s not just your fault, but this is where we’re at and this is what I want.”
“Well, I can see that you’ve made up your mind and that there isn’t really anything I can do about it, so I’ll give you what you want. What do you need me to do?”
Mark was wrong, there were plenty of things he could do to stop your marriage from ending but you knew that this was where the conversation would lead. You didn’t know whether you wanted to thank him for making this easy or curse him for not trying harder. “I made an appointment with Jaebeom at lunchtime tomorrow. I need you to show up.”
With a nod, he agreed to your terms and watched you make your way to the bedroom with longing eyes. Once you shut the door behind you, Mark slid to the floor and buried his face into his hands as sobs wracked his body. For hours he mourned the loss of your love, before picking himself up from the floor and heading to bed.
“Are you sure about this?” Jaebeom asked, as he looked through the paperwork.
“We’re sure,” you replied and Mark offered his friend a tight smile.
With a sigh, Jaebeom flicked the folder shut and leaned back in his chair. Clasping his hands together, he studied his best friends who now seemed like two strangers sitting in front of him, wondering what happened to the two people who used to love each other more than life itself. “Are you really sure?”
“Jaebeom, we’re sure,” Mark replied to appease you. “Now that we’ve discussed the coming settlement, is there anything else that we need to do?”
“Actually, there is. I can put through the paperwork today no issues, but there is a thirty day cooling off period.”
“A cooling off period?” you asked. “What does this mean?”
“The law states that you must remain married for the next thirty days and remain under the same roof,” Jaebeom advised and watched your expression fall. “Once this goes through, there is no turning back. They just want to make sure that you’re making the right decision.”
“There’s no getting out of this?” you questioned and Jaebeom shook his head. “If Mark is okay with it then I’m okay with it. I don’t want to put him in an even more uncomfortable position.”
Mark smiled gently at you. “I’ll be okay,” he assured you.
“It’s settled then,” you got up and gave Jaebeom a quick hug goodbye before turning to Mark. “I’ll see you at home?”
Mark smiled wistfully; you still called the house your home. “I’ll see you then.”
Once you walked out of Jaebeom’s office and were well out of earshot, Mark turned to face his friend with raised brows. “What are you playing at?” he asked him.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Jaebeom answered with a smug smirk.
“That thirty day cooling off period is bullshit and you know it.”
“It is, but I had to do something since I knew you wouldn’t.”
“Jaebeom, this is what she wants,” Mark sighed as he rubbed his face.
Jaebeom scoffed, “this is not what she wants and you know it.”
Mark looked away from his friend, but couldn’t stop his tears from escaping. Jaebeom was right, this wasn’t what you wanted and Mark knew that. He just wasn’t sure if he deserved your love back. “I don’t know if I can fix it,” he cried out.
Jaebeom stood and walked over, crouching down to Mark’s level and placing his hands on his friend’s shoulders. “You are the only one that can fix this,” Jaebeom assured him. “I know you can and she knows you can. That’s why she’s worried about this cooling off period. I’ve given you a shot and you need to take it.”
Thankful for his friend, Mark nodded and vowed that he wouldn’t waste this chance.
Thirty days. He wasn’t sure if it was possible but he was willing to find out.