"We believe the insurgents intended the RPG attack to inflict the maximum casualties in the medical facility. Your husband was working his second shift that day. The CO wanted you to know that the number of lives they saved on this…"
No, no, no, no.
Stumbling backwards, Liz grabbed on to the doorframe to attempt to steady herself, to stop everything from moving, to stop everything from spinning. Her grip loosened and her legs gave out, folding underneath her as though they had somehow forgotten how to do their main purpose; support. The room swirled round and round her head, her breathing becoming deeper and deeper as she frantically tried to make sense of what she had just been told. It couldn't be true, none of it could be true. Josh, her Josh, he was coming home soon, they must have gotten it completely wrong, there was no way-
She felt as though every nerve ending in her body was exposed and raw, her eyes pricking with tears that rolled down her cheeks no matter how desperately she tried to prevent it. The pounding in her head grew with such ferocity that it felt as though there were tiny prisoners inside it, trying to claw their way to freedom. She wrapped her arms around her stomach, slowly rocking back and forth, reprimanding herself to break down while the children were only asleep upstairs.
They would have to be told, she thought, letting out a sob. She wouldn't be able to do it- she couldn't. The thought that her children would feel even a fraction of the frenzied pain she was, was enough for her to want to run away and shut herself away from the world forever. Pushing her back up against the wall, she tried to breathe slower, her heart racing as though it was going to leap from her chest. Her vision began to blur and she blinked frantically, as though she could stop the darkness she felt surrounding her.
With one hand on the doorframe, she pulled herself up, barely noticing the deep half-moon shaped marks that looked as though they were now branded into the pale skin of her right hand. Stumbling as she walked, she made it to the kitchen, grabbing a glass from the draining board and filled it with water. Bringing the glass to her lips, the freezing glass clinked against her teeth, causing her to shiver slightly. She gulped the clear liquid down, feeling it trickle down her throat, her insides turning to ice.
Clutching the now empty glass, she steadied herself on the counter top with her free hand, the other squeezing the glass so tight it took only a moment of the pressure for it to shatter in her palm. She gasped softly, looking down at her right hand, tiny triangles of glass embedded in her skin. She gazed at the sight before shaking her head, slowly extracting the glass from her hand. Looking at the broken glass on the kitchen floor, she exhaled. For a second, she had forgotten. Turning around, she grabbed a second glass, feeling the smooth crystal in her hand for a second before she hurled it at the opposite wall. The crash of glass splitting filled her ears, the anger in her beginning to simmer.
"Josh…," she murmured quietly, catching the glint of her wedding band in the light.
This wasn't happening, she hadn't planned for this. He was supposed to come home soon, they were supposed to bring the kids to Disneyland.
Children that now had no father. Liz brought her hand to cover her mouth, stifling the sobs that had started. With tears clouding her vision, and burning her cheeks she climbed the stairs, and paused in the doorway of the room her two boys shared.
The two of them looked so peaceful in their slumber, so unaware of the catastrophic change that had happened in their lives while they dreamed of insignificant things like being the star of the football team in school, or playing with the new puppy Liz had promised them when Daddy came home. Except- he wasn't. Not anyone.
Liz felt a pain in her chest as she watched her children, a pain so sharp it felt as though someone was sitting on her lungs, making any intake of breath feel as though it was a hundred tiny knives poking her. She wondered if this is really what having your heart broken feels like, almost a very absence of pain and yet, unbearable pain at the same time.
Seeing the moonlight stream across the baby's face, it dawned on her that it really was just the two of them left. She was all they had now.
Suddenly, a feeling of pure anger began to rise in her stomach, her hands clenched into fists. How, how dare he leave them like this, he promised he wouldn't. He made a promise to her that he would never leave her, promised that this time would be the time that stuck, that they would be the family she had always dreamed of and never had with Oren. Her teeth chattered as she raged, backing away from the children's room, and into their own. Her own.
"You fucking asshole…" she whispered to the photo that stood on her side of the bed, taken the day they were married.
She held the gold frame in her hands, and brought a finger up to Josh's face, tracing his features and the outline of his hair.
Curling into a ball on the covers, she brought the photo frame level to her face, tears falling out of the inner corner of her eye, stinging as her mascara ran. She gripped the frame so tightly, her knuckles started to turn white. The burning in her throat grew in intensity and she let out the breath she wasn't even aware she had been holding.
Everything seemed overwhelming right now. It wasn't fair- she hadn't chosen any of this.
The cuts in her hand throbbed, as did the slicing pain in her head. Feeling nauseous, she clutched the photo to her chest, closing her eyes.
"You fucking asshole"
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