The "Something" Series

Something Epiphanic : A Monologue.

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“I love you, call me when you’re ready.”

I snapped out of my thought when I see and hear Willow crawling to me on the floor. I instantly smiled, grabbing her so she can sit in my lap and play with the toy she left next to me. She cooed in excitement, smiling like there is nothing wrong with the world. Nothing is wrong in her world, despite everything else happening around her. I smile, thanking God that even though things aren’t what they’re supposed to be, that she is still a happy baby. That’s all that matters; Willow’s happiness.

I look up when Max enters the room. He stops when he sees us together. Smiling. I don’t think I’ve seen Max smile since we’ve broken up. He walks towards us and instead of sitting on the sofa, he sits on the ground with me. He watches Willow play with her toy in my arms, his eyes never leaving his sight. God, he loves his daughter.

“Thanks for letting me see Willie today.” I didn’t even look at Max when I said it; maybe I was just thanking some other being for allowing me to see Willow today, but that’s just crazy talk. Max is in this room. This is Max’s house.

“Of course.” Max looked at me and genuinely seemed to be at peace. Maybe living outside of the city was best for him. The city always kept him up; the loud noises and the constant traffic going throughout the night; he never was well rested in the city. When Willow was born, he was always anxious at night and how the loud noises would scare and wake her up. There were times I found him sleeping on her bedroom floor, as if him being in there would protect her from all the loud noises in the world. Me? I grew up in the city; sirens and cars drinking in the night were my ocean sound maker.

Max took in a deep breath and I instantly looked at him. Fuck, why do you do this? He looks back at me and shakes his head, as if he knows that I’m always worried about him and he tells me that everything is going to be alright without actually saying it. Max knew this about me, that even when we were together, working on that intern case, I worried about him more than I worried about myself, especially since the first case was tied to his family back in England. Maybe if I was there like we was there for me, maybe I would’ve felt more inclined to leave my job and work things out and be a mother to Willow and–

“How have you been? Everything is alright on your end?” I looked at him when he asked that. He never fails to ask the same question.

“I’m fine, Max.” I said it more coldly than I intended for it to come out. Fuck, I’m sorry.

Max looked away, just watching Willow crawl around and play with the toys in her way.

I always feel like I put Max down, especially during the pregnancy and after Willow was born. It’s like I never allowed him to do or say the right thing because I dismissed him. It was like I was angry at him for putting me in the situation I was in; trying to finish up our intern case and getting me pregnant in the process. For quitting the firm and leaving me on my own and making me decide on my family or job. Most importantly, I feel like I’ve been angry at him this whole time for being the better parent to Willow. He remembers the things she likes. He remembers to change diapers and bathe her. He remembers the important things that make a parent a parent. I’m angry at him for being the parent Willow will like better later in life.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t really want to talk about it right now.”

Max placed his hand on my thigh and looked at me. I looked down at his hand, nervously frozen in place. Max loves you, call him when you’re ready.

“Just know that everything is going to be okay.” Max always knew how to reassure me. He never pressured me in talking about things I did not want to talk about, of course if it wasn’t anything related to Willow, which I now understand. Our daughter isn’t a second thought. When before Willow, Max knew when to step back and just be there for me. No words said, just stayed there. I missed that. I missed the Max that would come over to my apartment and just comfort me.

Without realizing it, I placed my head on his shoulder, and it instantly took me back. The moments when I would lay in bed in pain towards the end of my pregnancy, and how Max would sit up with me until I fell asleep on his shoulder; those are the moments that remind me of how good of a man Max is. He was always there, and because of Willow he’ll always be here. So why do I still feel so alone? Why does everyone leave?

“I love you, call me when you’re ready.”

I take my head off of Max’s shoulder and slowly get up from the floor. He watched me get up, and all he said was “Grace.” I shut my eyes. I hoped he wasn’t going to say what he was going to say, but I knew he was going to.

“Can we talk?” I turned around, looking at him sit on the ground. I sat on the sofa, knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to escape this conversation; not this time. He got up and picked up Willow to set her down for her nap. At least she won’t have to hear her parents bickering for the umpteenth time.

Max loves you, call him when you’re ready.

Max came back and sat on the sofa next to where I was sitting. He looked at me with such sad eyes. I know where this is going.

“You haven’t been able to get Willow these last couple of weekends because of the new case you picked up. Are you sure you’re okay? You know I can always help you out. We’re in this together.”

Don’t. We’re not though. I wanted to believe that Max was being honest and that he would be around for whatever this was now. At the beginning, he was there. He came over with Willow more often and we tried to work things out. But I see this version of Max, and I know what this version of Max is like. He wants to continue to be there for me, he wants to check on me every now and then and he wants to work things out.

But he also knows the version of Grace I currently am. I’m way too caught up on imagination, too caught up on my job and the fact that my heart belongs to a man that lives across the world but who’s to say this is just a man that will also leave when they get tired of me I mean he basically–

“Grace?”

I looked up at Max, who was patiently waiting for me to respond to him. I stared at him, trying to gather the thoughts together. Max doesn’t deserve to be lied to. Just tell him the truth.

“I know you want to be there and work things out for the sake of Willow… but…” Just fucking say it, Grace.

“Grace. I want to help you because I care about you and want nothing more for you to be okay so that Willow is okay. We both have to be okay in order to be there for her. She loves you, Grace. She needs her mom, and if there’s anything that’s preventing you for doing that, I am willing to help. For the sake of Willow.”

What? I was confused in what he said. Max was always the one to talk about the difficult things because he knew I was never one to talk. Since I’ve known Max, he always knew that some of the hardest things for me to do was speak up about difficult situations and to sit down and have those tough discussions. Max knows things need to be spoken when I get small, when I stop talking, when I’m about to disappear. He knows when to bring me back, to remind me that it’s okay to be feeling how I feel, that everything will play itself out in the process.

“I love you, call me when you’re ready.”

“I’m sorry.” That’s all that I could muster out. I’m sorry I wasn’t the woman you needed. I’m sorry that I didn’t fight hard enough. I’m sorry that even though you love me with your whole heart, that you love your daughter to the moon and back, that I sit here and think about everything else but being in love with you. I’m sorry that I only love you as a person, and for being an amazing father, but that I am not in love with you anymore. I’m sorry I broke you. I–

“It’s okay, Grace. Things happen, and I hope that you find the happiness you may need. You deserve happiness too.” I looked at Max and he smiled the biggest smile. I stared at him, analyzing his words and his body language and… he seems so genuine. He feels lighter, he feels like he needed clarification and he finally heard it. But, he doesn’t look hurt. He doesn’t look like I just broke his heart and his dream of being a family with him. He looks…light. He looks brighter, and for the first time in a long time, he looks like he has color on his face. Has he found happiness with someone else?

“You deserve it too, Max.” I barely made out those words without completely breaking down in tears.

“I’m already happy. I have the most beautiful daughter in the world.” I smile, so glad that Willow has both her parents that love her unconditionally, that she will grow up in this world knowing that we both love her, support her, and guide her in the right directions, even if Max and I aren’t together.

“I love you, call me when you’re ready.”

I looked outside to see the sun setting. Fuck, I need to get back to the city. I looked at Max, instantly anxious once again.

“It’s okay. We’ll talk about Willow spending the weekend at your place later on in the week. Get home safely, Grace.”

“Tell Willow mama loves her.” Please, remind her that I will always love her.

“Of course.” Max smiled and got up to escort me out of the door. When the door opened, the air felt crisp, but freshening. I closed my eyes, and took the winter night breeze in on my face. I feel different walking out of this house; for the first time in a really long time, I felt heard and seen.

I turned around to face Max and gave him a hug. I could tell he wasn’t ready for it due to how stiff he initially was.

“Thank you, Max. For listening.” I smiled up at him, as he smiled down at me.

“Anytime, Ashmore.” This was the Max I grew to love.

I turned back around to walk towards my car and once I got in, I waved up to Max, who also waved back before closing his front door. I took in a deep breath and took my phone out of my coat pocket. I closed my eyes.

“I love you, call me when you’re ready.”

I love you, and I hope I’m not too late.

“Hey, it’s me. Sorry if this is getting to you really early in the morning… I got your message. I–” I blinked and tears fell down from my face. I don’t regret saying what I said, but–

“Please come home to me, Jamie.”

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