I Assumed The Noises I Heard Downstairs Were My Husband (If Only I’d Checked My Text Messages Sooner)

Steve Snodgrass
Steve Snodgrass

He slipped it into the conversation like it was an afterthought, but it served as a perfect coda to end the latest of many arguments between us.

He said that he was in desperate need of a vacation.

My husband informed me that he would be gone for a week. He would be traveling with some friends to Las Vegas and would return that Sunday.

After the initial pang of hurt and jealousy subsided, I grew excited.

I still love my husband, at least I think I do, but lately I haven’t been so sure. A week long break was exactly what we needed. The constant bickering was getting to be too much. I was in dire need for a week to get my bearings and reassess our relationship.

It’s not one thing in particular that irks me about Chad. It’s just a bunch of little things that have added up over the four years we have lived together. Lately it has reached a point that, at times, his very presence can make my skin crawl.

In addition to this, I am a loner by nature and constantly struggle with my hasty decision to move in with him. I should have spent more time getting to know him before rushing into living together and our subsequent marriage.

In any case, I was very much looking forward to a week all to myself. My own private vacation.

The week couldn’t have gone better. I didn’t do much else than revel in my isolation, enjoying free reign of our apartment.

Freedom, sweet freedom.

Words cannot describe the jubilation I felt. On Wednesday, I remember staring long and hard at the wedding picture we displayed prominently in the living room and turning it face down. There were some cold hard truths percolating in my brain.

Before I knew it, Sunday rolled around. That morning I woke up with an all consuming melancholy. I had enjoyed being by myself so immensely. I was literally in tears from the anxiety of seeing it go. As emotion continued to overcome me, I realized what I had to do.

Chad had told me he would be arriving around 7. Though we didn’t talk all week (not a good sign for our marriage clearly), I assumed he would still be coming home at that time. I left the door unlocked and mentally prepared myself for the best way to tell him it was over.

Cowardice overtook me. I swallowed a double dose of sleeping pills and crawled into bed. Our inevitable confrontation would have to wait for tomorrow. I decided to extend my vacation one more night.

I awoke at 9 to the slamming of the front door. Confusion was replaced by anxiety. However, I was resolute in the fact that our life altering talk would still wait until tomorrow. I pretended to sleep, expecting to be greeted by the sound of the bedroom door opening. Instead the vibration of my phone on the nightstand cut through the silence of the dark room.

Though my contacts were out and my vision was further blurred from the effects of the sleeping pills, I did not need to see my phone to know who was texting me.

This was something he did that drove me nuts. We lived in a very small apartment, but he would insist on texting me if I was in another room. Hounding me with multiple messages when he could just get off his lazy ass and talk to me face to face. I had chided him for it before and was furious about it at that moment. As I continued to lay in bed feigning sleep, it struck me why I detested it so much. It was emblematic of the breakdown in communication between us, another symptom of a marriage falling apart.

As my phone continued to vibrate, I let sleep find me once again.

I awoke at 11 to the sound of feet shuffling outside the bedroom door. The footsteps going back and forth up and down the hallway. I could hear Chad talking to himself. Though I was in a daze, I’d recognize that voice anywhere. I could barely make it out, but it sounded as if he was just saying my name over and over again with increasing anger and fury.

This is another thing he did that pissed me off to no end. He would pace up and down the hallway talking to himself. My choice to end it all was becoming more clear as the right decision by the minute.

I looked over to see I was still getting texts. I had had enough.

Fuck him for being upset!

If he has something to say, he can open the goddamn door and say it to my fucking face!

If he wanted to be childish and send me passive-aggressive texts, I would return in kind.

I finally picked up my phone to release a torrent. My anger channeled into my fingertips. However, I stopped cold when I saw I had missed 30 calls and as many texts.

None of which were from Chad.

As I began to read through them, the horror began to build in me reaching a crescendo as I read the last text from my younger brother.

Susan, I am so sorry for your loss. Chad was an amazing guy.

I dropped the phone. Terror seized me. I turned my head slowly toward my bedroom door as it began to open. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Cliff Barlow

More From Thought Catalog