It was a Tuesday afternoon when I left my house to go and meet you. It was raining and your car was six blocks away, but I knew it was useless to ask you to pick me up. Another argument, that would have only ended in, “I’m sorry, you’re right.”
When I saw you on the corner my heart started beating again and when you leaned in to kiss me, I floated above the ground. Your eyes glimmered and never strayed from mine as you reached for my hand. I felt so safe.
In your apartment, I took off my raincoat and hung it up next to yours, as I’d done countless times before. Above your TV, hung a 2011 hockey schedule. It was three years old, yet you kept it because you insisted it was the best year of your life. On the walls of the hallway hung all of your targets, the good ones and the bad ones, on display as if to warn others what a good shot you are.
I remember the first time I slept here. I walked into your bedroom to see a handgun on your nightstand, and immediately my head crashed through the pit of my stomach. “It’s blocked,” you reassured me. And then you proceeded to show me how quickly you could take it apart and put it back together. I wasn’t sure if I should have been impressed that you tried so hard to impress me.
We left for the range around 2 p.m., the rain had lightened up and your BMW whipped along the mountainside as we made our way for the outskirts of town. Your left hand gripped the wheel, and your right hand rested on my thigh. I traced the veins on your hand and wondered how we got from there to here.
The rain bounced off the windshield, and your tires splashed water up on the sides of the car. Why you insisted on driving without your windshield wipers on was beyond me, but again I sat silent. With every sharp turn, every arrogant lane change, every red light, you gripped my hands tighter.
I never thought of leaving you, I never wanted to stray from the one person who made my heart beat, from the one who got me out of bed in the morning, the one who made my smiles feel real. Yet here I was, sitting in a car with someone I loved, yet felt increasingly distant from the more time I spent with him.
At the gun range, you handed me your .45 and smiled. “Show me what you got, babe.” I held the gun in my hands and put all my focus on the silhouette in front of me.
I thought of our first date, our first kiss, our first “I love you.”
I breathed in.
I thought of our first argument, our first fight, our first “I hate you.”
I breathed out.
As I fired round after round at the silhouette, it quickly became a metaphor of our dying relationship. A love that was hanging on by threads. The arguments became more common, the “I hate yous” became more prevalent, and the love I once fought for, the love we both knew, died right there as I fired away at a piece of paper.
I pulled the trigger, but you handed me the gun.