I Should Have

Entry by: Nino_1988

8th January 2018
I don’t get it.

I mean, who heard of a woman getting rid of the father of her children over a bag of chips. I get that it wasn’t the chips – that was just the last straw, or whatever, but that was the thing that did it. She was working late, and I was supposed to pick up a chippie in time for her getting back, but instead I had a few beers when I got back from work, and before I know it she’s back and she’s shouting about six missed calls, and why couldn’t I do one simple thing, and how come I couldn’t show the slightest bit of effort when she’s got two jobs and a sick mum, and in between all that has to take the girls to school and back.
So obviously I got defensive, and for once she didn’t stand for it – turns out she was just getting started, and looking back she was probably looking for a fight for a while. She carried on and on, and being me I wasn’t going to back down, so before you know it we're screaming at each other and the girls are downstairs and shouting at us just as loud as we were – to shut up, and to stop it, and how come we always have to fight.

Then their mum went down as if her legs didn’t have the strength to hold her up. She curled up into a ball and cried until we all went quiet, just watching her, not moving, not saying anything, just looking at how much of a mess she was. And just as I was about to go up to her and put my arms around her and tell her it’s all okay, I’ll go get the chips, I’ll do more around the house, she points her finger at me.
‘We’re done,’ she says. ‘No more chances, no more of this shit. We’re done.’
‘Fine.’ I say, and get out of the house, thinking to give her time, thinking how I can come back in an hour or so and we’ll talk like grown-ups rather than screaming down each other’s throats.
A little down the road Bethan, the youngest, came running down the street after me, and I told her to get back in the house, told her everything would be all right, and I remember believing it when I said it.

Looking back I try figuring out the point where it all went wrong. I used to come home late in the week sometimes without telling her, and I wasn’t fussed with doing the stuff around the house all that much, but I loved her, and I never thought any of that would be enough to tip her over the edge.

Every so often, I think of going round to the old house and knocking on, and in my head she’ll come to the door and I’ll smile at her with a bag of chips in my hand, and maybe she’ll let me in and we can talk about getting back to how we were. Except now when I picture it, she doesn’t look at me and smile like she used to. Now when I think of it she’s got the look she had when she threw me out that night – the look that says I don’t know what I was thinking staying with you for so long – sharing my life with you – having babies with you.

If I could figure out where it went wrong I might be able to fix it, but all I can think is how I should have gone to the chippie that night. Shoulda woulda coulda, I guess. Too little, too late and all that.