The papers were thrown on the table, causing a loud thud. Her eyes were shimmering like stars on a summer night. Her smile was wide, brighter than any other time. Carla seemed confident. She was anticipating the divorce for quite a while now; five whole months to be exact. Whereas Teo, felt like bloody Titanic; his glorious voyage was coming to a short end, pulling towards the dark abyss every single one of his dreams.
Theodore Clement and Carla Heinssen. A couple that all of their friends envied and looked up to. They had been married for almost six years while their overall relationship lasted for a total of ten. Teo was the regular computer guy, spending all his free time modding games and creating small programs. He was also a proud member of the student council and even though his popularity wasn’t that high, teachers and classmates had only good things to say for him.
Carla was the shy girl of the drama club; always searching for the right classic book to turn into a successful play, and in the end, her low-shelf esteem would throw her off. The first meeting happened in the school’s library. Teo was fixing the computers – cause the headmaster wouldn’t spend a single buck on a technician - and in the meantime studying for the upcoming exams, while Carla was reading for the fifth time Pride and Prejudice, her all-time favorite book...for that year at least. Theodore got so mesmerized by her he accidentally wiped off the computer’s database. The screaming was terrifying, and honestly, Carla got scared at first, but after a while, she offered to help him in any way she could. She locked the door, hanging a paper that said “Drama Club Rehearsals”, and remained alert in case any of the teachers would show up. Teo could never forget that day as he held it dear and close to his heart.
In the end, he managed nothing and got scolded by the headmaster, but none of this mattered.
From strangers, they turned into best friends, and later on into girlfriend and boyfriend. Their high school love bloomed through college, and Teo, out of a whim on their fourth anniversary, decided to pop the question with a cute silver ring and make her his wife. Her answer was instant. She needed no time to think about it. The girl was in love with that geeky boy, and she would never fall out of it.
Up until now, at least.
"Do you have to be that excited?" he questioned with a sigh, averting his eyes from the envelopes. The sight of them was like a stub through the heart.
"Oh, come on. We both knew right from the start that this wasn't going to last" her cheerful reaction was driving him insane. “I mean, who gets married at 22 and believes in the happily–ever–after fairy tale?” the girl flipped her hair to one side, waving her hand and giggling as if she was sharing the juiciest gossip of the year.
Sometimes, he’d catch himself wandering where that shy teenage girl he loved went and who was that woman who took over. Maybe she buried the girl deep inside to be able and fight off her demons. He had a good share of his own, so he understood the constant struggle, but this-
The audacity of that woman! Of course, he was expecting their relationship and marriage to last. Otherwise, there was no need in proposing and dreaming of their future. Till death parts us, they declared in presence of the god and the holy spirit. How could she break such a holy promise? She brought up the divorce a couple of months back. At first, he blamed himself, for being too focused on his project, and not paying as much attention as she needed. He knew that. He knew he wasn’t the best husband the past year, and he was planning on making up for all those months. He had even booked tickets for a whole two-weeks gateway to New Zealand. However, a moment before his surprise, she decided to ask for those damn papers. In the end, he threw the tickets away and succumbed to an internal wailing.
“Will you at least tell me his name?” a thick knot in his throat prevented him from asking more. Even his voice cracked a little, but curiosity got the best of him. He had to know at least that much for the guy who won his wife’s heart.
A pause. He needed a few seconds to process the answer.
“Twenty-two?” he repeated in disbelief, yet her nodding was proof enough that she was serious.
“I met him through this application. You know, the one you sign up to meet new people. Most of my clients use it for business purposes so I said why not? I mean, it’s hard filling the classes by handing out pamphlets. Anyways, he is working for this great company – which name I can’t remember – and he owns a villa big enough to-”.
“Woah, there!” he stopped her, his head throbbing from the pain “You mean to tell me that you brought our marriage to ruin for a guy you met through the net?!” Was her love real? He sighed and rubbed his face, a side of him hoping that all this was just a bad dream or a joke. And he could handle both pretty well.
“How can you ruin something that was never perfect anyways?” she shrugged because it was that simple to her. It was simple that from now on, he’d spend every night on his own. It was simple, and none of her business that he would return home, and no one would wait for him. It was - it was that simple that she didn’t love him anymore.
“Have you ever met the guy?” he needed another cup of coffee. Teo stood up and walked towards the counter, preparing his drink. Three and a half spoons of coffee and a small pinch of dark sugar. Oh, what the hell, he thought frustrated enough, and put the sugar back. A strong coffee would regenerate his stamina and the patience that he needed for this conversation.
“We will go out tonight, actually! Do you want to look at his photo?”
Honestly, Carla, no. I don’t care about your fake internet boyfriend.
“Sure, why not?” why even bother yelling at her? She wouldn’t get it. She’d never acknowledge his pain.
“Great!” she squirmed in excitement. Teo poured the coffee into his favorite cup and sat down, sipping quietly, and waiting.
While Carla was browsing through her photos, Teo was secretly hoping that he’d find the courage to spill the hot drink on the damn phone. The sigh that his lips released was heavy with regret. Whom was he trying to kid? Teo didn't have the heart to kill a small spider. He’d always tell Carla that he did so, while in reality, he had moved the poor thing outside the window. His kindness was nothing but his kryptonite. Leaning his head on his palm, he fixed his gaze on her. From a certain point of view, she looked like one of these little animated trolls he watched on Tv. Carla was a bit short, with colorful hair that changed colors every two or three months, bright green eyes, and scattered freckles all over her face. Her lips, on the other hand, were more humble, pinkish but humble, and a true gem whenever she was smiling. Teo had to admit that she was the cutest of all.
“This is him last summer! He went to his friend’s beach house, and they were surfing all day long! A surfer! Can you even believe that?” she was hopping up and down, clapping her hands, so looking at the photo was a tiring experience for his eyes.
Another sigh escaped his lips. “You do realize it is a little inappropriate to talk to me about your lover.”
Carla scoffed and laughed, returning to her seat “Come on, Teo. You’ve always been my best friend. Not even marriage can change that!”
“Or divorce” he softly commented, drinking the last drop of coffee.
“And speaking of it, you must sign them today please!”
“Why the hurry?” maybe he could buy some time. Maybe this crush would end, and she would finally come back to her senses.
“Well,” Carla looked away from him, blushing like a little kid “We will go out for the first time today, so I want to meet him as a single woman, not a married one” she paused and giggled a little. With a hop she stood behind him, hugging him tightly “Plus, I don’t want to cheat on you. This wouldn’t be nice”.
Teo moved away, pushing her arms off him and standing against the wall. Waves of anger and irritation were crushing his entire being. The divorce would claim her a free woman; free to go with whomever she wished; no strings attached. To Teo, it would crumble his world.
The young man picked the pen from the table, and with trembling hands, he signed his name on every page.
“There. Your wish came true” the pen flew from his hand, and landed on the ground “Happy? Now you can go and f-”
The phone started buzzing like crazy.
“Hello?” he wasn’t happy. He wasn’t happy at all, and things were to get even worse.