Love Me Like That

By: Marie James


I grab my clothes, personal items from the bathroom, and the small photo album I have of my parents. My sad life fits in two suitcases with room to spare. Pitiful.

I tug the suitcases to the front door and take one last glance at the home I thought I’d eventually raise children in after Trent manned up and asked me to marry him.

Wasted time.

Wasted hope.

Wasted life.

I lift my hand to my neck as a single tear rolls down my cheek. The first tear, but I know it’s far from the last. My fingers brush across the gold and diamond infinity symbol hanging around my neck. I cherish this necklace. He gave it to me years ago, at the same time promising me he will love me and protect me always.

Lies.

Every word that he’s spewed from his beautiful mouth has been a lie. Every kiss, every I love you, and every unspoken ounce of satisfaction reflected in his glacial blue eyes has been a betrayal.

I tug the necklace until the chain breaks free and place it with a strangely calm hand on the table near the entryway. I turn and leave my entire life behind with no idea or plans for my future.

Living in the northwestern area of Great Falls, Montana has me on Interstate 15 heading north in a matter of minutes. An hour and a half later I’m pulling into a tiny gas station in Shelby. I take the time to fuel up and set my radio to the same playlist I used nine years ago when my parents died; the sad songs of loss and despair seem fitting.

I hit Subway for lunch and decide to go ahead and eat in the dining area. They have no drive-thru, so I had to get out of the car anyways. I pick a quiet corner and stick my headphones in, continuing to work through my grief while I eat.

It’s early afternoon and in a hasty decision I’ve decided I’ll head west toward Washington and possibly later will head to Alaska. Putting thousands of miles and a huge chunk of Canada between the people who’ve betrayed me seems like a good idea. If I continue on IH15 right now, I’ll hit Canada, and I don’t feel like digging for my passport. West it is.

While Rascal Flatts, What Hurts the Most, blares through the sound system I convince myself I’ll allow the duration of this trip for my grief and anger. Once I come to the place I want to settle, I tell myself I have to be over it; I’ll need to move on and begin again. I’m determined, but not hopeful, it will be that easy.

I begin my self-proclaimed pity party with memories of my parents, their car accident, and the future destroyed after their loss. Gut-wrenching grief washes over me when my mind takes me right back to Keira and how her family was there for me after their deaths. They gave me a place to live and helped me with all the paperwork to get into college.

Keira, my best friend. In less than a minute, well of what I saw, she managed to turn a lifetime friendship into seething treachery. Don’t get me wrong, I love Trent with each and every atom in my body, but she’s like a sister to me. I can’t decide which betrayal is worse at this point.

Was. Loved. Past tense.

I want to cry and grieve for the loss of not only my lover and the man I was certain I’d spend the rest of my life with but also the woman who I was sure would be the godmother to the children Trent and I would have. Now I have no one.

Rather than giving into the heartache and misery that is trying to creep up I focus on the anger and the hatred at their deception. I try to work my head around the last few years in an attempt to pinpoint where things changed; doing my best not to turn it around on me and give into the self-doubt I’m known to have.

I have a history of internalizing others mistakes and accepting blame, and historically punishment, for wrongs that altogether were never mine to begin with. With everything that’s rushing and running through my head, I can’t even concentrate on driving.

My phone has rang no less than a dozen times since leaving Shelby over five hours ago. The trip has been slow going in large part to the snow that has begun to fall; the fact that I’m on a two-lane blacktop doesn’t help either.

I hit a gas station in Whitefish and decided to head south which will eventually shoot me over to Spokane, Washington. Seems like a place I could set down temporary roots. The population is high enough that work will be easy to find until I can make more permanent plans.

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