The day begins like any other day. My partner; Ellie, is up before me as usual. I lay in bed taking in the smells of grounded coffee beans as I catch a glimpse of the weather outside. The sun peering in through a small gap in our bedroom curtains like a prison spotlight and the birds singing as they go about their day.
Usually, I’d leap out of bed and head to the toilet, performing my morning routine of bladder evacuation that resembles the jet stream of a firefighter’s hose. I’d wash my hands and then my face, dry myself off then head downstairs to find my beautiful girlfriend curled up on the sofa with a fresh cup of black coffee watching the mind-numbing drill that is morning TV. I’d shrug, roll my eyes then give Ellie a kiss. “Morning babe”, “morning babe” we’d both say respectively then she’d follow up with “yours is on the side” and I’d give a quick smile before heading into the kitchen to taste the sweet caffeinated nectar that is coffee in my favourite Star Wars mug. I’d head into the living room and join Ellie on the sofa. That’s usually how our day pans out on a morning, unless we sleep in late for work in which case our morning routine resembles a stampede on the plains of Africa as we head for our cars and high-tail it to work.
This day is not one of those days though. Last night, Ellie and I argued. It’s not the first time we’ve argued, like every couple we argue. Usually about Ellie moving one of my possessions in a place that only she can find. God knows I try. Or, about me moving an object that upsets her OCD. She hasn’t been diagnosed but she’s convinced she has it. I nod and agree because it’s not worth the stress and she’s one of the most stubborn people I know. Funny thing is, I’m one of the most stubborn people she knows too.
This time, it was a very heated argument that involved a lot of shouting, screaming, breaking of objects, name calling, threats and crying. I cheated on her several months back with a girl from work at the Christmas party. It was a drunken mistake that cannot be justified no matter how many times I’m asked why. A month ago I decided to swallow whatever pride I had left and come clean. I sat Ellie down when she came in from work as I had the day off. Spending most of it preparing what I would say and assuming what would happen afterwards. Unbeknownst to me, Ellie decided to stay with me after an argument that night too. Things were obviously a little weird at first, Ellie didn’t trust me and whenever I left the house, even if it was to head to the local supermarket to buy some cigarettes, she’d call me demanding to know where I was. I didn’t blame her. I’d have done the same. After a few weeks it was getting a little too much for both of us and the s**t storm erupted. The worst thing is, I can’t even remember much of it.
I got out of bed and headed downstairs, taking each stride slower than the last so as not to rush into the living room where Ellie would be. I finally opened the door that separated our hall to the living room and there she was, curled up on the sofa drinking black coffee and watching morning TV with swollen eyes and a mixture of dried and fresh tears. “Morning,” I said with a little bit of attitude, I strode past Ellie but she didn’t even respond. The silent treatment. I headed into the kitchen hoping to find a coffee waiting for me but there was nothing.
The kitchen stunk of cleaning products. Bleach? One of the things I loved about Ellie was when she was mad she’d clean and I mean deep clean. Some days I would cause an argument just because I thought the house needed some attention and I was too lazy to do it. Worked every time. I shouted through the kitchen “you could’ve made me a coffee still” but again got the silent treatment. Two can play that game I thought. I headed back into the living room to get my phone to see if I had any messages from friends, family or work and to check my E-mails but it wasn’t in the spot where I left it. She must’ve hid it I thought to myself but I’m not going to even ask. She still didn’t trust me and it’s not worth continuing last night’s argument.
I sat down on the edge of the sofa, on the opposite end to where Ellie was curled up. Even angry and upset she still looks beautiful. Dirty blonde hair held up in a messy bun. She never cared too much about dolling herself up for me. I loved her look anyway. A hint of mascara under her eyes from the crying and wearing her ‘comfys’ as she would call them. Basically just baggy pyjamas. Then as I watch the dribble on TV she just suddenly burst into tears. I hated seeing her cry but I was standing my ground on this one. I tried talking and she just ignored me so I did the best I could to ignore her cries.
“Why? Why?,” she called out before gasping for air. I couldn’t respond. I didn’t want to go over the details again of how I banged another girl whom she didn’t trust around me anyway.
“I don’t trust her, Daniel. Please just be careful, okay?” I remember her saying just before I left that festive night. I still didn’t know why I did it. I got lost in the moment. How could I betray her? I always thought to myself. Ellie wooed me the instant we met at Starbucks. I guess you could call it fate. I’m more of a Costa fan but decided to call into Starbucks that day because there was a fuel station next door to it and I was running low. I stood behind her in the queue and heard her order a black Americano which I thought was a little bland. As she stood ordering, another barista came and took my order.
“Skinny latte with sugar-free caramel, please and a lemon drizzle muffin,” I said.
“Try the chocolate one, it’s delicious!” came a soft voice. I looked directly at Ellie who was stood there smiling and nodding with encouragement.
“Actually make that a chocolate one… Better yet, make it two,” I said with a smile back towards this beauty. Ellie and I spoke for hours that day. Talking about our interests and goals. What we did for work and which coffee chain was better. We must’ve drank about 10 cups of coffee that day. When we exchanged numbers and left in our own cars I remember having this amazing buzz that wasn’t just from the coffee. We kissed on our first date, well, first proper date. We made love by the third. After around six months of dating we moved in together and called a house a home and it was perfect. Then I f****d it all up.
As she sat crying I, again was overcome with guilt and self-loathing. I walked out of the room and went upstairs. I must’ve dozed off as I awoke to the sound of laughter, it was Ellie. She was on the phone. I tried listening in but couldn’t make out what she was saying but from what I could hear she didn’t make anything sound out of the ordinary.
Ellie is the type to tell her friends every aspect of our lives and when they come over I can feel their judgement pierce through me like thousands of tiny needles. I never cared much for her friends and Ellie never cared much for mine. That’s just the way it was. Whenever her friends came over I’d go out and keep out the way until they left and she did the same when mine came over, until she returned and headed straight upstairs. She’d always need to sleep if my friends were over too so I would always get a text from her telling me to keep it down. Basically, my friends annoyed her and she didn’t want to hear us having fun. I loved the girl but sometimes she could be a b***h.
I could do with seeing my friend Michael who always gave the best advice but I still couldn’t find my damn phone and before you ask, who has a landline these days? And we never just turned up at one another’s unannounced. The fact she hadn’t told her friend what had happened meant the argument wasn’t over yet or it wasn’t a close friend. I predicted it to be the former.
After it went quiet for a bit I headed downstairs and could hear Ellie crying again. I sat on the stairs listening to her for about five minutes before I heard the back door shut. She’ll be gardening. She has spent a lot of time turning the back garden into a work of art the last couple of months. I probably couldn’t find anything more tedious to do than gardening. I didn’t have a green thumb at all.
After a couple of hours Ellie came back into the house, sniffling like she’d spent the whole time crying. I asked her if she was okay but I got no response. Again, ignoring me because she put her stubbornness before her relationship. I marched out and headed back upstairs. I chose to sleep in the spare room. I’m not sure if we shared a bed last night but I’d be damned if I was sharing one with her tonight.
The next morning I woke up and headed out onto the landing and looked into our bedroom. The bed was made. It didn’t alarm me as Ellie was the type of person to make it as soon as she got out of it. I would leave it then go back and make it after a morning shower. As I headed downstairs she darted out the front door locking it from the other side, jumped in her car and took off. Must be late for work I thought.
I searched the house trying to find my phone but couldn’t. I even looked where I had already searched in case I missed it but it was nowhere to be found. I headed out into the back garden to see the work Ellie had been doing and it was a mess. Out of anger she’s dug up all her flowers and they’re in a heap to the side while overturned dirt just covered the small garden space. I just know she’d blame me for that. She went into destructive mode but I’d get the f*****g blame.
I went back inside and did some Yoga. Ellie finally returned home from work and headed straight upstairs while I lay on the sofa. I could hear banging of the wardrobe doors and the avalanche of 50 pairs of shoes too many collapsing out of the shoe cupboard. After half an hour she came downstairs in a beautiful dress that I’d bought her a year ago on her birthday. It was black and clung to her, showing every inch of her figure. I wanted to just rip it off and make love to her then and there as she stood at the bottom of the stairs looking into the long mirror whilst fixing her earrings. I wonder how she’d react if I did? I didn’t want to find out, but I knew it wouldn’t be what I wanted. She went straight out the front door and locked it before I could say a word to her.
I awoke the next morning and headed downstairs. There was no sign of Ellie or even a sign that she came home. I knew she was working today so she must’ve gone straight to work from wherever she’d been last night. Usually on a night out she’d message me every hour letting me know she was safe. The texts of course started getting harder to read at every hour until it was just a bunch of random letters or even symbols. But, I knew she was okay. She would often stay at her friend Alexa’s too if she was going out but she hardly ever went out if she had work the next day. I felt like going for a drive but realised my car was gone. How could I miss that? I’d never noticed it been missing. Did she take my car? I know she doesn’t trust me but this is a bit much. I feel like I’m being imprisoned in my own home and have everything taken away from me. I can just picture Ellie dressed as a prison officer ready to take me down in riot gear if I dared blink. Everything just seems odd since we argued. Like nothing makes sense or that I’m lost. I’m stood in my home. A home that I made with Ellie but I feel so unattached to it. Like it isn’t mine any more.
Ellie finally returned home that night sobbing. I didn’t ask her where she’d been. What was the point? I’d have no right to assume she was with anyone or doing the same as I’d done. She was as loyal as a soldier. I sat at our table as I watched her walk in and fall asleep on the sofa. I sat down beside her and said, “I’m sorry Ellie. I know it doesn’t mean much right now but, I love you.” Her eyes flickered telling me she was in a deep sleep. I headed upstairs and slept in the spare room.
The next morning I heard the bin collectors emptying all the bins on our street. S**t, I thought. I hope Ellie took our bin out. I looked out the bedroom window and saw that she in fact did put it out. Must’ve done it before she left for work. It was overflowing with filled bin bags which is unusual as we hardly had much rubbish in our bins. I just shrugged it off. I saw that one of the wardrobe doors was open slightly so I went to shut it but noticed something odd. It looked bare inside. This was my wardrobe. I opened it up and I was right. It was completely empty. She’d got rid of all my stuff. At that point I was pacing angrily.
“How the f**k could she do that!?” I spat. I couldn’t wait for her to get home to get to the bottom of this. Ignoring me is one thing, hiding my phone is another, then there’s my car but to get rid of every bit of clothing I owned? What’s her problem? I wondered if my clothes were in the bin outside. I ran down the stairs like a kid at Christmas and went to open the front door. Locked. I rolled my eyes while I searched for the key. Where the f**k is it? I thought. Ellie has one and I have the other. She took my key too. How far is she going to go with this? I ran to the back door and tried to get out of the back garden but our tall gate was locked. Ellie was always over the top with security. If she could have it her way the house would look like a maximum security prison with guards, dogs and snipers on the roof. I laughed to myself at how silly all this was. I heard a knock at the front door and went to see who it was. The glass on the door is frosted so you can’t see through you can just make out the shape of a body on the other side. I shouted to the stranger that I couldn’t find the key and asked who it was but they must not be able to hear me with the bin men working outside. I shouted sorry to the body on the other side of the door and headed back into the living room. They just kept knocking so I continued to ignore them. A******e.
A few days had passed and Ellie finally returned home. She went straight out into her garden then after an hour came back inside and sat down on the sofa crying.
“I need to talk to you, Ellie. What’s going on?” Ellie just sat there staring at our coffee table with tears rolling down her cheek. “You’ve hid my phone, my friends or family could be panicking about me Ellie.”
“You’ve done something with my car… You’ve thrown out all my clothes. For what? To make me feel bad?”
Ellie still glared at the coffee table.
“Is this your idea of punishing me? The silent treatment is enough Ellie,” Ellie then looked at me confused. Her eyes… They looked more like they were looking through me than at me. I sat there staring at her, waiting for her response. Ellie turned back, pulled her knees to her chin and once again stared at the coffee table. At this point I was starting to get annoyed. I tried breathing before I got angry but I couldn’t control it. I stood up as swiftly as I could and shouted at her with every bit of rage I had in me.
“F**k sake, Ellie! What do I have to f*****g do!?” I shouted as she still just sat there crying. I grabbed the glass candle sat on our fireplace and threw it across the living room shattering it as it landed on the other side. At this point Ellie jumped, her eyes were wide and the tears kept rolling.
“Answer me, Ellie!” I spat as I grabbed the picture on the wall above the fireplace and threw it to the ground, shattering the glass frame. Ellie finally cried out.
“Stop! Please stop! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” as she started crying uncontrollably. I finally calmed down and my temper disappeared.
“You’re sorry huh? No Ellie, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for thinking this was going to work,” just then I headed to the front door. It was unlocked. I left and walked up our street. I walked for the 0.7 miles to our Starbucks and sat outside. I sat there for a few hours just thinking about everything. I couldn’t leave it this way. I had to go back and see if she’d finally talk. If not then I’d say my goodbye and leave. Why was she so eager to let this all fail? I walked home. As I got to the end of our street I could see blue lights flashing. I looked down and I could see police cars and an ambulance at our home. Ellie! I thought to myself. I hope she hasn’t done something stupid. I started sprinting towards our home when two police officers were escorting Ellie out of the house.
“What’s going on?” I shouted but Ellie just kept saying “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Ellie, what have you done? I thought. I saw Michael at the side of my back garden talking with police officers but I couldn’t get to him. I headed inside and there were police officers all over the house looking through everything in every room.
“Here it is, we found it,” I heard come from one of the officers outside. I walked through to the back door and there were several officers in the garden. There was dirt all dug up to the side and I could hear Michael.
“I just can’t believe it,” he said while talking to an officer. “I knew something was wrong. I just knew it” he continued.
“Well you did right getting in touch. We’ll inform the family,” replied the officer.
“What the f**k is going on here?” I beckoned but no one responded. An officer moved in the garden and I got a view at what they were all looking at. It was a body. I slowly walked up to the shallow grave wondering what the hell was going on. Has Ellie killed someone? No! I thought. Ellie couldn’t do a thing like that. I got closer and closer and was getting a better view. It had started decomposing but still recognizable. I moved closer until I was at the edge of the grave. I looked down at the body… It was me.