Casualties of War


It’s a war zone out there.

“Out there?  What the hell do you mean?  It’s a freaking war zone in here?” In a bold stance leaning in slightly, elbows out fists planted on either hip.  ” Out there is one thing.  I never figured I’d  have to worry about friendly fire.  Geez,  I’d feel safer out there.  At least out there I  know to take cover.  Out there I know to expect snipers.  Out there I know it’s a battle.  I never for one moment considered that I’d be bunking down with  a cold blooded killer that would rip my heart out.”

She sighed. “I’m sorry.  I never meant”

“Never meant to hurt me? Didn’t think I’d care?  Didn’t think it would matter?”  He turned and paced  through the room, stopping at the fireplace. He stood there for a few moments staring at nothing then swiped his arm causing the pictures of their  lives together to go crashing, shattering to the floor.

How appropriate!   Shattered into a million pieces.  Destroyed.  He harrumphed as he turned away walking to the kitchen. Muffled expressions came from the room with the sound of running water.

Kevin stood at the sink, sipping the water he’d poured staring out the window.  It didn’t matter where he looked, he couldn’t see past the betrayal.  Why?  How could she?  DAMMIT!  He  grabbed his keys off of the  kitchen island, letting the door slam behind him.

Throwing his car in reverse, Kevin slammed down the shifter and  nearly hit the trash cans before speeding away.

Maryssa slumped forward, her head in her hands, crying.  She  knew before she arrived at the boathouse for that fated night that she should just  get in her car and turn around. Why she hadn’t done it she didn’t know.  At the time she couldn’t see past the haze of anger, the frustration she felt, and the sting of Kevin’s parting words to her  that afternoon.  She remembered everything of that day; every finite detail.

In the morning she had made him  lunch after they had talked about saving for a cruise.  Thinking that he’d be pleased at  her efforts she made him a roast beef and swiss sandwich, packed three of the sugar cookies she’d baked the weekend before, and added a ziploc bag of grapes and one of  baby carrots. In the top portion she put one of his sports drinks in to round it out.  When  he came out of the bedroom adjusting his tie he asked,  “What’s this?”

“I made you lunch” She had beamed.  It was the first time in over a year that she’d made the effort and she thought he’d be pleased.

” What the hell ?  I’ve got lunch with the board members today.”  He grabbed his keys and left without another word. 

When she texted him  before lunch ‘have a great lunch, can’t wait to see you tonight  honey’

He replied with ” stop texting me every freaking hour!  I’m working!”

She had been  crushed.  It was yet another slam Kevin had made.

When she   opened her laptop and got on her social media page, she saw that  her former boyfriend Andre’ was going to be doing a book signing at the  local bookstore.  She decided to go buy the book and pop in and say hi. She showered and dressed, then headed  out, anxious to catch up with  him.  It had been a while since they had talked, last she heard he was getting married.

Maryssa bought the book and took it over to the  table he had set up in the cafe’ portion.  Andre’ nearly knocked the waiter over to  get to her.  ” Oh my God! Maryssa!” He lifted her in his arms, turning  her around.  ” It’s so good to see you. How have you been?”

She blushed as he set her back down on her feet. ” OK, mostly working.”

“You look fabulous! I was just telling Sam about you. He motioned someone behind her forward.  Fully expecting the new wife she  was shocked when a  large strong hand gripped her shoulder and spun her around.

” I finally get to meet the one that got away.”  He pulled her in to a  hug and a hand shake before she could  do anything else.

Andre’  stood smiling for a second watching then said ” Alright break it up Sam.  Ten second rule.”

Sam released her from the hug, and stepped back a little sheepishly then turned and went back to what he was doing before. 

” My agent, Sam.  So, how’s life treating you?  I hear you and Kevin are an item.”

Wow, right to the gut with Andre, it’s how it always had been.  In some ways she missed his  brashness. She sat down with him to talk over iced tea while he signed his books.  It was nice to catch up with him, if there was one thing  they ever had  together it was good communication.    She sighed, if only Kevin would just talk to her like this.

She finished her tea and  hugged him.  “It was so good to see you, you don’t know how much better you’ve made my day. Thanks Andre’.  I wish you well always.”  Turning to go he put his hand on her arm.

” What would you think of meeting me for dinner at the boathouse?  It’s been  a while since we’ve gone there and I’d love to continue talking with you.”

” I don’t think . . .” She looked down at the floor avoiding his puppy dog eyes that she knew  he was giving her.

“Don’t think, just have dinner with me.  No pressure, just catching up.  OK?”  His eyes pleading with her.

She shouldn’t have looked at him. “I’ll text you and let you know.”

When Kevin came home that evening he rushed in and changed then informed her he was going to the game with Ron and Joe. Not even bothering to kiss her he just changed and left, off with the guys.  Only enough time to  comment about her pants being too tight, not noticing the new outfit,  took no notice to the  romantic table setting,  he didn’t even  notice her new haircut.  A few tears fell as she  was left with the empty apartment and  her feelings of rejection as she texted  Andre’.

It was just dinner.  At least that was the plan.

Two hours later, three  hurricanes and a moonlit walk and they’d ended up on Andre’s boat in each others arms.   It was intense passion;  the old sparks rekindled physically but nothing more.  

She had made it home and was in bed before Kevin returned, hating herself for what she’d done.

NO, she’d known better than to  even see him that night.  However she couldn’t undo what she’d done. Her attention went back to the news broadcast, the streets in a neighboring city  with dead strewn across the suburban landscape. A war had been waging for nearly two years against the invaders.  In the past few months fire fights had  edged closer and closer to their neighborhood.  It was only a matter of time.

She  moved to the shattered glass on the floor.  Carefully picking up the  larger pieces, trying to salvage what was left if anything. Fat tears rolled down her cheeks, splattering onto the glass and the wooden floor.   As she reached for  one piece of glass, she scraped her wrist over another, slicing a gash in the heel of her hand.

At first only a drop or two seemed to  well up then suddenly it was oozing down her wrist. Maryssa sat  back on her heels staring mindlessly as the blood dripped and  flowed down her wrist and forearm.   A sharp stabbing pain ripped through her left shoulder and into her chest.  It was as if everything moved in slow motion after that.  Her heartbeat pulsing in her ears, the blood flow  pounding in rhythm.  She felt drugged, couldn’t move, feeling dizzy.  She glanced down at her shirt  wondering how she’d managed to get blood on her shirt thinking she needed to go wash it up now.

Kevin came in the door to see her in a pool of blood staring blankly into space, one hand closed around shards of glass the other laid open, laying on her thigh bleeding. On her shirt a large circle of  crimson spreading to her waist.  The distinct tang of copper in the air as he rushed towards her.

“Oh dear God NO! Maryssa honey!  NO!  What did you do?”  He lifted her in his arms moving to the bathroom to wash the blood away and tend her wounds.  She was a limp rag in his arms.

Her head lolling sideways on his shoulder, smiling lazily at him before she closed them and drifted off.

“Hang in there!  Maryssa please!”  He held her close to his chest  dialing 911. Her pulse was weak, her body limp.  Kevin cried, barely audible waiting for the ambulance, his tears splashing onto her serene face as he whispered to her over and over  ” I love you.”

War rages on, casualties fall. History is told by the survivors, never knowing the full story.

Write on my friends,  in a daily habit even when you don’t feel like it.





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