Over

Michael tossed a suitcase on the bed, flipped it open. He scooped socks and underwear out of a drawer and into his luggage.

“Another conference?” Richard asked, walking into the bedroom, tugging at the tie he hated wearing.

“Nope.” Michael kept packing, jeans, shirts, a sweater.

“So, what’s with the suitcase?” Richard asked, pulling off his tie on his way to the closet.

“I’m leaving,” Michael muttered, zipping his suitcase closed.  

Richard stripped off his shirt. “Visiting your parents?”

“No.” Michael sat on the bed and watched Richard change—for the last time.

He watched his husband hang up his suit pants and pull on a pair of jeans, the faded ones with a shredding hem that he’d had forever. Who would have guessed that those jeans would last longer than their marriage?

It wasn’t their ongoing battles about money. It wasn’t the lies and the increasingly younger guys that Richard thought he didn’t know about. It was the silence that Michael couldn’t take. He didn’t know how it happened, or when it started, but they weren’t sharing a life anymore. They were sharing a house, and that wasn’t good enough.

“I’m leaving,” Michael repeated.

Richard’s head popped through the neck of the sweatshirt he was pulling on. “What?”

Michael let the waiting suitcase and his expression answer for him.

Shock turned Richard’s face into a mask that crumbled as understanding set in. Understanding and resignation. “I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, me too.”

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