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    An Ending

                                                by Brian Young

                            Published by Brian Young at Smashwords

                                      Copyright 2018 Brian Young

No one had said anything in quite some time. She sat looking away from him, pretending to look out the window. He couldn't help but look at her. His eyes going up her rosy cheek, resting on her cold stare. He was an old man. There was no denying that anymore. It was hard for him to get around. He had become bitter, at least that's what she told him.

She stood and walked to the counter. She slowly lifted the coffee pot and filled her cup. Never said anything. Never even looked in his direction. Her actions—or lack thereof—left him frustrated. He always seemed to teeter between anger and sadness. She didn't care one damn bit.

There was no one else. All of his friends were too busy with their own lives or he had abandoned them for her. He had become lonely over the years and then found himself obsolete. He looked out the window and watched the rain. They used to love the rain. He remembered how he held her as they lay next to the window and the cool air blew in. He thought of the cold and her skin. The smallest touch of it still drove him wild. Now she turned away almost immediately.

She made him feel impotent. A little boy scared in the dark. After a while, that fear turns into anger. Into rage. All the sacrifice. All the work he put in to make her happy. The debt he would never escape. The toll on his body. A body that disgusts her. He was a stranger in his own home. The home he built and kept in shape. She just went on, barely looking at him or talking.

As he watched her, he felt a strange hot rush behind his ears followed by the sting of sadness. He groaned as he stood and crossed the kitchen into the hall. As he went up the stairs, he looked back at her. She was back at the table with her coffee. He went up the steps and into their bedroom. He opened the closet door and pulled the chain for the light. At the top of the closet was an old blue case with a lock on it. He brought it down and sat on the edge of their bed with the case on his lap. His hands shook as he fumbled with the combination. The lock popped, and he opened the case. Tears welled up in his eyes. He brought an old yellow photo to his face.

She sat looking at the pattern on the tablecloth. She heard the creak of the stairs and sighed and took a drink of coffee.

His footsteps in the hall.

Her eyes out the window.

He set the case on the table and sat back down in his chair. The old case squeaked as he opened it. He put the old photo on the table in front of her. She looked down. It was the two of them at the lake. They were smiling.

"I love you,” he said.

He reached into the case and pulled out the gun and fired. Her head snapped back and then forward against the table, and her body slumped to the floor. He looked down at the blood pooling around his shoe. He looked into her eyes, the blood splattered on the curtains. He stood and went out the door. As he walked through the yard, he looked up at the sky. The rain kissed his face.

He brought the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

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