Eyes of Violet

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Today is Josh's birthday.
He's been acting distant lately, and I want to try to get to the bottom of the reason for that tonight.
We've been together for nearly ten years, and I'd hate for something like miscommunication to tear us apart.
So I have a plan.
As I gather my things from my desk and let my boss know I'm heading out early, I smile excitedly as I think about the plans that I have come up with for when he gets off of work.
The agenda for the night includes his favorite dinner first. During dinner, I'll surprise him with tickets to see his favorite comedian who is coincidentally in town today.
After the show, later in the night when he's in a good mood from just seeing one of his idols, I'll bring up his distant behavior so we can talk through it—like you should if you’re in a healthy relationship.
Then we'll end the night working on that baby that we've been trying for… but took a hiatus on.

As I approach the car, I rummage through my bag for my keys, unlock it and climb in, then I'm on my way home. Dinner obviously involves a little bit of a preparation first, which is why I'm heading out early--so that I can get everything finished before Josh gets off work.

It takes me fifteen minutes to reach our cozy apartment from work, and I furrow my brow when I see his car already out in the lot. I park beside it as usual and gather my things before climbing the stairs and unlocking the door to our apartment.
When I step inside, I immediately realize something is wrong.

Josh's clothes, along with women's clothing that don't belong to me, are scattered from the door all the way down the hall, and I can hear the unmistakable noises of two people in the midst of sexual ecstasy coming from inside my and Josh's bedroom.
I break out in a cold sweat as I quietly creep down the hall to where the sounds are coming from.

Swallowing hard, I twist the knob and let the door clap against the wall. The man and woman freeze as they both look towards the noise.

Josh immediately jumps off of the woman that he had just been fucking in our bed (no protection in sight), and storms towards me. I spin around before he reaches me and run out of our apartment and climb into my car once again. My phone blares nonstop with call after call as I drive to Ava's house.
When I arrive, I climb out and dash to her front door, which I then begin pounding on. When she finally opens it up, I collapse into her arms and begin sobbing.

She furrows her brows, and guides me to the couch.
"What's wrong, babe?" She asks worriedly, rubbing my back soothingly until I've calmed down enough to take a breath.

"He cheated on me." I whisper.

Ava's eyes widen and I can tell she doesn't believe me. "Honey, maybe there was a misunderstanding?" She asks. "That man worships the ground you walk on."

"I thought so too, but I just caught him fucking another woman in my bed." I spit out.

"What!" Ava exclaims and I nod. "He's so fucking stupid! Why the fuck would he cheat on you? I mean come on, you're trying for a baby together! Fucks sake, he gets plenty of sex, so that can't be it?"

“We—well he decided to take a hiatus from trying since it wasn’t happening...” I shrug, not knowing what else to say. We sit in silence, taking in the events, until there's a knock on the door. I look up with wide eyes. I hadn't anticipated him following me over here, but I guess I should have known.

"I'll get rid of him." Ava promises, and I nod appreciatively. I watch her walk to the door and pull it open, and I get the smallest glimpse of him before Ava angles herself to hide me from his view.

"I need to talk to her." He pleads in a choked voice.

"Not going to happen." Ava says firmly.

"Please, Avs." He begs.

"It’s Ava to you. Only my friends get to call me by nicknames. Our friendship ended the moment you stuck your dick in someone besides my best friend… The one that, you know, is your wife?”
“I think you should leave, Joshua." She tells him.

He sobs and looks over Ava's shoulder at me. "I'm so sorry, baby. Please come home. She left. It'll never happen again." He promises.

"Bullshit!" I shout and grab the envelope containing the tickets for the comedic show from my purse before running to the door.
Ava steps out of the way, and I slap Josh across the cheek before throwing the envelope at him, screaming "happy fucking birthday," and finally, slamming the door in his face. I fall against it and slide down as he punches the other side, then I finally hear him stomp away and I begin sobbing again.

"I'm so sorry, Vi." Ava says, and sits beside me. "Stay here as long as you want."

I shake my head no. "I need to go get tested. He didn’t have on any protection when I caught them." I tell her. "I wanna go home after that… To Savannah."

"Where will you go in Savannah?" She asks, surprise marring her features.

"Mom's been begging us to move closer, so I figure she'd be real happy for me to move back in completely for a little while." I stated.

"I'm coming with you. To your doctors and home."

"Ava please. You don't have to do that for me just because I'm broken again." I said feeling guilty. She had been there for every disaster I had ever experienced. "You have a life here."

"Oh stop with that. Not everything is about you." She says and I smile weakly, knowing she doesn't mean it offensively. "No, I actually just got offered a job there. I've been debating taking it for a couple days now. I was going to turn it down, but if you're going home, I'm not staying here by myself. So I'd have a life there, too. Plus, it would be nice to get the trio back together, don'tcha think? If I were to stay here, that couldn't happen."

I sigh and hug her, then wipe the tears from my face.

“Besides. Didn’t we make a pact? Wherever you go, I go too and vice versa. So stop thinking everything is about you. I just don’t want to get smote for breaking the kind of vow we made in that pact.”
I knew what she was trying to do, and it was working. A snort worked its way out of me, and she winked.

"Now come on, let's go make sure he didn't give you cooties." She says, and stands up. She offers her hand, and I accept her help to stand from the floor. She gives me some leggings and a baggy shirt to change into, then we're off.

A few hours later, we're climbing back in the car, and I grasp the papers tightly as she drives me to my apartment.

Josh's car is there again when we arrive, and Ava and I agree that it's best if I don't go up there alone. We both climb out of the car, and I make sure I have the papers, then we climb the stairs. I inhale a deep breath before opening the door.

As we enter the apartment, a puffy-eyed Josh rounds the corner. His eyes widen when he sees me, and he crushes me in a hug. "I'm so sorry." He sobs.

My arms hang loosely at my sides, not returning his embrace as he sobs into my neck. Ava clears her throat from behind me, and finally Josh releases his hold on me. He moves out of the way, and Ava and I enter the living room. When I turn around to face Josh, his eyes have found the envelope in my hand, and he begins shaking his head furiously.

"No!" He exclaims. "No, no, no!"

"Please just sign them." I sigh. When I got done with my trip to the health department, I called and had managed to get in to see my lawyer right after. I wasn't interested in fixing things, and my lawyer could tell, so he quickly went through things with me, then got papers together for me to sign, and to get Josh to go over with his lawyers and sign. They were pretty straightforward, since I didn’t want anything from Josh, and we didn’t have any kids, so no drawn out custody battles either.

"No!" He denied.

"You will sign them. I’m not staying with someone who cheats on me. I told you in the very beginning that cheating is one of the things I absolutely would not put up with. You knew that, yet you still went and fucked someone else in our apartment. In our bed that we share, Josh!"

"I'm sorry! Please baby, give me one more chance." He begged.

"Hell no. My days of being treated this way were supposed to end in high school. You knew my history, yet you still went and did this shit. You're a lying, cheating asshole, and I'm done. You're so lucky you didn't give me any diseases or infections." I say.

"I was always careful." He says, unintentionally admitting that today wasn't the first time. He gulps. "What about a baby?" He asks as if he didn't just admit that he'd cheated on me multiple times.

"You call going in raw being careful?” I laughed humorlessly. “And it’s a damn good thing I haven't been able to get pregnant yet, isn't it?" I said.

"Violet, please."

“No, Josh!” I shoved the envelope against his chest. "You need to go through them with your lawyer, and for my sake, sign the damn things. Don't fight me about it. As long as you don’t drag it out, it’ll be a clean break. I don’t want anything except my clothes, makeup and the electronics that belong to me."
“What about all our furniture and dishes?” He asked stupidly.
“Keep them.” I shrugged.

He clenched his jaw, but finally took the envelope from me and pulled out the papers. While he flipped through them and called the lawyer, I went to our room and threw the door open. I stopped short as the door hit the wall.

"Ava!" I called.

"What?" She asked, walking down the hall.

"Get her the fuck out of here until I leave." I said, pointing to the woman I caught my husband with just hours ago.

"Joshua, you fucking idiot!" Ava yelled, and he came stalking down the hall.

He paled as his hazel eyes landed on her. "Briana, I told you to leave." He said.

"What's the use now? She's leaving so I can stay, right?" Briana said crossing her arms.

"Fuck that. You're definitely leaving." Ava said, and grabbed Briana by the hair.

The woman shrieked as she was dragged out of the room and moments later, the front door slammed shut. Ava returned a minute later, slapping her hands together as if rubbing off dirt.

"I want to know how many times?" I said once the girl was gone.

Josh stares at me for several seconds before looking at the floor and shrugging. "Too many to count."

"Why?" I asked.

He shrugged again. "Does it matter? I was stupid..."

"Yeah well look what your stupidity has caused, Josh. The end of an almost ten year relationship. I hope they were all worth it." I say sarcastically.

Josh turns and punches the wall.

"I want the papers signed by the time I'm finished packing." I tell him. He stomps out of the room, and I hear a glass shatter as he pulls out a kitchen chair.

"What are we taking?" Ava asks.

"Just my clothes, my laptop and chargers. I don't want anything else." I say.

She nods and follows me to the walk-in closet. I pull out my luggage bags and pass a couple to her. She takes them to the dresser and starts loading the contents from my side into one of them. As she fills her bags, I start throwing my stuff from the closet in mine. I put all of my clothes in the biggest bag, then load the few pairs of shoes that I have into the other.

When we're both finished, I grab my makeup essentials, then look around the room to make sure we didn't miss anything. Once I'm sure nothing important is being left behind, I grab the bags and Ava helps me load them into her car. When we're done, I go back into the apartment to retrieve the papers Josh was supposed to sign. He's nowhere in sight when I return, and I don't find the papers, which hopefully means he took them to his lawyer.

Before I leave the apartment, I pull my wedding rings off and leave them on the table. I don't want any reminders of my life with Josh, so I refuse to take them. Let him give them to his mistress for all I cared.
As I climb back into Ava's car, I steel my jaw and refuse to shed any more tears.

Even when I call my boss the next day and quit my job, or as we book the movers the following week to get Ava's furniture to Savannah, I force the tears away.

I only cry in my mom’s arms as she picks us up at the airport a couple weeks later, and I tell her what happened and how long I suspect it going for. And I cry during the two hour drive from Charleston to Savannah mourning my nearly decade long relationship that I'm realizing was probably a sham from the start.
But when we arrive at my childhood home, I make a promise to myself.
No more tears for Joshua Blake.
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