The Court of Love

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Chapter 1

Arabella stepped into the room that was across from her and her husband’s room. A room that held so much meaning to her. A room she should’ve entered filled with happiness. A room that should’ve been filled with life. For the past two years, it was the room she spent most of her day in.

She placed a hand on the doorknob and leaned against the door, closing it behind her. She used the sleeve of her gray sweater to rub against her swollen eyes. She sniffled, doing her best to hold back her tears, and tightened her grip on the papers she held in her other hand.

She looked towards the window and slowly walked up to it. The deeper into the room she walked, the heavier her steps felt.

The day was bright and sunny, a beautiful day to go out for a walk or drive. However, no matter how beautiful the day was, Arabella felt as if heavy dark clouds followed her.

It all started two years ago, an unexpected and tragic event.

At first, she couldn’t believe what had happened. She couldn’t understand how or why it happened. All she knew was that it did happen, and that many had told her to not to blame herself for it.

Arabella slowly reached forward and held onto the yellow curtains. She moved the curtains just enough to allow her to see her husband’s car drive out of their garage, through their driveway, and out the gates of their home. The moment his car was out of her view, she shut the curtains. Arabella always kept the curtains shut. The only source of light came from the tall white lamp that stood at the corner of the room and the one that hung from the ceiling.

Unlike that one day, she never thought this day would come either. Reality began to sink in.

The heavy dark clouds that surrounded her poured down as thunder struck her heart with force. Her heart was breaking into pieces. Like a vase, once you broke it, it could never go back to the way it was. No matter how hard you tried, no matter if you pieced the pieces together the way they had originally been, the cracks would still be there. It would still be a broken vase.

And sometimes there will be little gaps or spaces, and you’ll ask yourself. Where did those little pieces go? You would try and try to look for them, but they somehow disappeared. And now, you have a vase that’s incomplete. A broken vase with cracks and missing pieces.

Funny how the heart works quite the same. You piece it back together, but sometimes, it’s still missing pieces. Pieces that somehow disappeared and you're left with holes that can never be filled.

Since there’s nothing to cover those holes, parts of you start to flow out of your heart and out of you. Parts of you that you’ll never gain back and if you do, they’re different. They make you different.

No one would be able to fix Arabella’s already broken heart that was continuing to break. Not even the two people who broke it.

One of them never did it intentionally. It wasn’t their fault that they had left. To be honest, no one knew, not even them, that they would be leaving.

Arabella walked away from the window. She sat down on the white sofa chair, placing the papers on her lap. Her bare feet felt the white fuzzy rug underneath her. Slowly, she reached behind her. There sat a small brown teddy bear with a yellow bow at the front of its neck. She brought it up to her chest.

She ran a hand along the arm of the chair. She remembered when she bought it about two and a half years ago. She had bought a few other things for this same very room. The colors white, yellow, black, and brown decorated the room. Arabella and her husband had a surprise coming on the way. Since they didn’t know whether they’d later buy items pink or blue they decided to go with neutral colors. Brown for comforting and nurturing. Black because it went with everything. White for light, innocence, safety, and beginnings. Bright yellow for hope and happiness.

Sadly, no surprise came, at least not a good one. The happiness and hope the room held was gone. Now, it was a room Arabella used to cry alone during her nights.

Arabella blamed herself after the first time her heart was broken, even when everyone told her not to. She was the reason why she wouldn’t see them to begin with. She was the reason she wouldn’t get to hold them to begin with. She was the reason they didn’t make it. No one could ever take away the blame she held on herself. The hatred she had for herself.

She hugged the teddy bear tightly against her chest as she stared at the crib in front of her. As soon as the tears began to pile up and her heart sunk deeper, a cry escaped from her lips.

The second person to break her heart had left their home a few minutes ago. They both went through a rough patch that Arabella wished she had handled it differently. At first, she pushed him away when he tried to reach for her. It wasn’t until she went to reach for him that she realized that she had pushed him too far away. She thought he needed time just like she did. She thought if she continued to reach for him that she’d be able to pull him back.

Instead, he continued to push her away.

She looked down at the papers. The papers were wrinkled and had stains that her tears had created earlier after her husband had handed them to her. Tears fell once again from her eyes and onto the papers. A few of them fell onto the teddy bear.

Teddy bears were made to be held, hugged, and played with, especially by children. They weren’t made to soak up tears as their lifeless bodies were squeezed tightly.

As more and more tears traveled down her red cheeks, Arabella began to relive the moment her husband dropped an ultimatum.

She sat in a high stool around the kitchen counter. She had just finished eating her dinner and was now thinking, staring down at her empty plate. She left her husband’s plate in the microwave knowing he came home late most nights, sometimes he wouldn’t come back till the next day.

She speculated he was seeing someone. She also thought it was that he was actually in fact busy with the company they shared. Back when things were much happier, she’d stay late with him, helping him with any work that had piled up or was driving him to exhaustion. She wanted to believed it was that and not that he was spending his nights with another man nor woman.

Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the front door close. Footsteps could be heard making their way to the kitchen. Footsteps in which she knew belonged to her husband.

She stood up and walked her plate to the sink. By the time her husband stepped into the kitchen, she was almost done washing her plate. Neither of them bothered to show any affection towards the other. They had stopped doing so about a year ago.

“You’re drinking again,” she heard her husband say.

“And what about it?” She asked. Arabella finished washing her plate and put it on the rack so that it could dry overnight. She turned around to face him.

He didn’t take off his suit jacket off and placed it on the kitchen counter like he usually did. He frowned at the empty glass cup and wine bottle that laid in front of where she was sitting earlier.

He looked back at her and answered, “I’ve told you before to stop, Arabella. You’re hurting yourself.”

Too late for that.

“Dinner is in the microwave,” she said. She knew it would be pointless to get into another argument with him. She began to make her way out of her kitchen when his words stopped her.

“I’m not staying.”

She frowned and turned to face him, "what?”

“I just came to leave these.”

Arabella noticed the papers in his hand. She slowly made her way up to him. Her throat became dry and a lump had formed, making it hard to swallow.

Once in front of him, she grabbed the papers in his hand and stared down at them. Her heart dropped just as her hands began to shake. “What the hell is this, Zoilo?”

“It is what it looks like. I want a divorce.”

Her head shot up, searching for any trace in his face that would tell her that he was joking. That this was all just a mistake, a misunderstanding. But all she saw was how serious he was about it.

She looked back down at the papers. Divorce. She began to take deep breaths trying to calm herself down. He wants to leave me as well. Tears began to blur her vision. She quickly brought up the sleeve of her sweater and rubbed her eyes. She let out a sad chuckle, “you’re leaving me as well?”

When she looked back up at him, she held a smile. A smile that didn’t reach under her eyes. A smile that didn’t show her teeth. A smile that now tasted salty from the tear that fell from her eye. A smile that was slowly going away. The corners of her lips shifted slightly downwards and quickly back to how they were, back to a smile.

Zoilo features softened. He didn’t wish this day would ever come for either of them. But it did. He brought this upon them and knew he’d live with that decision for the rest of his life.

It is the right thing to do, he thought.

“Bella...” he said, softly. A name only he called her. A name meaning beautiful in Italian that he thought suited Arabella because she was beautiful, both inside and out. Which is why he had to do this. “This isn’t working and you know it.”

She couldn’t lose him. She couldn’t lose him as well. She desperately pleaded, “I know... I... we’ve... had a rough two years but we can make things work again. We can go see a marriage counselor. We can talk things through. We can... I know we can.”

“No, Arabella, we can’t.” His face morphed into another frown, only this time he was angrier.

“I need you to believe that we can!”

“Well I don’t!” He fired back. “This is over, Arabella. We can’t keep living like this. We aren’t happy together... not... not anymore.” He turned away from her.

“I made a promise to you in the church. I did in front of both our families. I promised that I would be by your side till death do us part. You made that same promise that same day, and yet, here you are breaking that promise.”

“That was six years ago, Arabella,” he faced her again.

“What changed?”

He didn’t answer. He didn’t know how to answer why he wanted the divorce. He just knew it was the right thing to do. He had to end things. He had to leave her.

She raised her voice slightly, and asked, desperately, “what changed, Zoilo?”

“I stopped loving you.”

No other words were exchanged between the two of them. Before Arabella could say anything, Zoilo grabbed his keys and walked out of the kitchen. Arabella opened her mouth just as soon as she heard the front door shut forcefully.

Arabella didn’t chase after him. Instead, she turned around and headed up to the second floor. She walked down the hallway and stopped when their bedroom door was on one side, on the other side was the room she ended up most of her nights in.

She turned her back towards her and Zoilo’s bedroom and opened the other door.

Like any other night, Arabella wouldn’t hold back her tears. She’d hold on to a stuffed animal for dear life. She’d sit on the sofa chair watching the crib in front of her wondering what if that night didn’t happen. She knew for a fact that things would have been much more different, happier probably. She’d wonder what if she hadn’t done the things she did like pushing Zoilo away when all he wanted to do was to comfort his grieving wife. She’d wonder many what if’s and end up blaming herself for everything that has happened.

Because she thought that she was the cause of it, and in a way she thought this is what she deserved.

To anyone who has gone through a divorce, is going through one at the moment, and has seen or is seeing someone they love and care go through one, I’m so sorry. Please don’t go through it alone. Talk to someone.

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