For the First Time
Mark woke up from his deep sleep. It was still dark but the lamp shade provided him some light as he inspected the room. He looked at the alarm clock which was at the left side of his bed. The alarm clock said three o’clock. He rubbed his eyes, he was still sleepy, but he felt so awake. He didn’t know what to do, he just couldn’t go back to sleep. He felt another presence in the room. He looked right and her wife, Liza was sleeping, looking at the opposite side of the bed. She had her back turned on him, so all he could see was her crimson black hair. He wished that he could see her beautiful face, her dazzling eyes, her cute nose, and her thin red lips. He loved her so much. He wanted to wake her up and just kiss her, make love to her and after that tell her how much he loved her. Then they would talk about the first time they met, the dreams they shared, the moments they loved. All the good times and more. But now the times had changed, the good times have passed and the moments and the spark are both gone. He felt that when she looks at him, she just sees a man, not her husband but just any man, a stranger in the matter of fact. He felt that she’s gone, out there, somewhere, he felt that she just doesn’t care about what they have anymore. It made him tear up, just the idea that she would be gone one day, leaving him for someone better. He looked back up to the ceiling. He would cry himself to sleep, he thought. He thought about the things they’ve been through together, things that they enjoy in the presence of each other. His tears fell, his eyes were watery, but he held it, he wiped his tears and looked at the opposite side of the bed. He closed his eyes and tried his best to fall asleep and he did, he fell into a deep slumber, wishing that he could dream about Liza and him, their good times together, when they loved each other.
The alarm clock went off at six o’clock. Mark woke up and noticed that Liza was no longer in bed. He stood up and heard the shower went off in their comfort room. She was just taking a bath, he thought. He yawned and stretched. He stood in the middle of the room for a moment. He stared at the window and saw the sun shining on the horizon of the suburb houses. It shone brightly, indicating a new day has dawned upon the land of men, and that there is new hope, new memories to make. Liza opened the door of the comfort room; she had her pink bath robe on. She looked at him straight in the eye and he too looked at her. It felt like minutes, hours when they did that. Then she broke it and walked to the closet. Mark stood there for a while, and then he walked into the comfort room. He thought about the way she looked at him. Empty, her eyes, emotions, were all empty, no smile, and no spark, nothing to say, nothing to talk about. He felt miserable, has their relationship fell to this point? In a relationship where they just stopped caring about each other? He wanted things to go back the way it was, a year ago, when they were still happy and free. When love was still in their veins and that fiery passion they had with each other. Now things have changed.
Mark finished his bath, changed into his work clothes, and went downstairs. Liza prepared breakfast and she was already halfway finishing it. He sat down at the opposite side of the table and ate his omelette and sausage. Liza was too busy checking her phone while eating, her eyes completely focused in its screen, never wandering into Mark’s eyes, and dear God, how long did he wait for her eyes to go meet with his.
“I’m going to stay with my mom for the night.” Liza said to Mark without letting her eyes wander from her phone.
“Why?” Mark Asked.
“There are some things she wanted to talk about.” Liza replied still her eyes in her phone.
What is it that her mom wanted to talk about? Was it about them? He didn’t know. They didn’t have any financial problems whatsoever. Is it because they don’t have kids? They tried, but Liza was barren, they knew that from a check up once. Was it because of that? Questions started to pour into Mark’s head. He just stared at her, almost crying, he knew that they’re falling apart. Oh how much he wanted to hug her and tell her everything is going to be alright.
Liza finished her meal and stood up from the table. She was wearing her work clothes, blazer, pencil skirt and black heels. She grabbed her hand bag and left, without even saying goodbye. They are both changing. But Mark didn’t want to change, he wanted to still care about what they have, he wanted to salvage it, he wanted to fix it. But how can he fix something that is broken beyond repair, how can fix something that’s already gone, how can he fix love? He finished his breakfast, cleaned the table and placed the dishes in the sink.
“How about kids?” Liza asked Mark with a smile. “Don’t you want kids?” Liza added.
“Yeah! I would make them everyday if I had to.” Mark said, and then they both burst into a hearty laugh.
It was the night when Mark proposed to Liza. He remembered it fully, a Saturday, in the middle of February, eight o’clock. The night was perfect. They were both happy, satisfied with what they have and he was ready.
“You know what else go with kids?” Mark asked. The smile was still in his face.
“What?” Liza asked curiously, but still smiling.
“Getting married.” Mark replied and walked to her side of the table.
The restaurant was packed with people talking and having their side of fun, but it didn’t matter, Mark was filled with the ecstasy of love and he wanted to burst and let her know that he wanted her forever.
“Mark..... what are you..” Liza was shocked, she didn’t know what to do. Mark knelt down.
“I know it’s simple and all, but you know, we both love this place and we love each other.” Mark started, “And I would love to spend an eternity with you and the life after that if God allows me to, but even if he didn’t want to let me stay with you, I would argue with him and tell him that I love you so much that I would love you until the end of forever.” Mark added and smiled. Liza started to have tears falling from her cheeks and she was smiling, trying to hold herself together. This was it.
“So Liza, the love of my life, the dream of my soul, the shelter of my heart, will you marry me?”
“Yes! Yes! I do want to marry you!” Liza shouted with joy and hugged him ever so tightly. The people around them smiled and clapped. They cheered for the two of them, but for the two of them, there was only Mark and Liza in the room, in love and will forever be happy in the arms of each other.
Where did the happiness go? Where did their love end up? Made a wrong turn into hate road and kept going? Were they just tired of what they had and wanted something else? Was the sex bad? Both of them didn’t know. All they know was that one day, they just stopped having that spark.
Mark went to work. He worked tirelessly, with all the questions in his head; he felt that he wasn’t there at all. His fellow workers tried talking to him, but he denied them by saying “I’m fine, no worries.” He didn’t know how long he worked; he didn’t know the things he did during that work day. He just kept working like a robot programmed to just get through the day. He missed something though. He missed the calls from Liza. She used to call him everytime, asking what he’s doing, how he’s doing, but now that was gone too, alongside the passion and strive they had together. Those things are long gone.
Night came and Mark was very tired when he got home. He walked to the bedroom with his body aching all over. He opened the door and went into the bedroom. He saw Liza packing.
“Hey, why are you packing?” Mark asked. He was worried.
“I told you I was staying with my mom for the night.” Liza replied without even looking at Mark.
“It looks like you’re packing for an entire year’s stay.”Mark said hoping to make her laugh.
There was silence. Liza just kept getting clothes and putting it into her luggage. Why can’t I make her laugh anymore? Why can’t I make her smile? Mark thought to himself. He grabbed Liza’s hand.
“Liza. Can you please stop? Liza.” Mark said hesitantly.
“What do you want Mark? Let go.” Liza responded while trying to push him away.
“I just.... want us to fix-“
“Fix what exactly? What’s happening to us?” Liza interrupted Mark.
“I don’t.... I don’t know.”
“That’s the problem. We just don’t have it anymore, I’m tired, you’re tired, and we need space.” Liza said with some strength in her words. She was about to breakdown, tears gathering in her eyes.
“Space? Do you think that’s what we really need? Stop running away and help me fix the problem!” Mark shouted, he didn’t want to but he did. He wanted to let her know that he’s still there, fighting for the two of them.
“I’m trying I really am...” Liza started to cry, tears started to fall from her eyes.
“You’re-We’re not doing enough.” Mark hugged her. “You know how hard to see you like this-to see us like this? I never thought this could happen.” Mark added, he also started to cry.
They both thought that they would always be constantly happy in the presence of each other, but things pile up, depression, stress and more enter their life, constantly, without end. The things damage their walls and continue to destroy those walls down. And the saddest part of them all is that they have nothing to stop those things from coming.
“We have to start all over again.” Mark started, drying his tears using his hands. “We just can’t think that all the things we did were mistakes.” Liza was listening to him, but can’t respond. “That’s why I’m asking you out tomorrow, just the two of us, like we were meeting for the first time.”
“Sounds good.” Liza said with a smile.
Liza called her mom and told her she decided to stay with Mark and she told her mom that things are going to be better between them. They went to bed together.
“What happened to us?” Liza asked.
“I don’t know. It’s like one day we just stopped.” Mark replied trying to answer a question that he just can’t answer.
“It’s been five years and it all seemed so far away, all those times before, when we were happy.”
“I know. I feel the same way too.” Mark said staring at the ceiling. “You know the hardest part, the part that hurts me the most?” Mark asked.
“What... What is it?” Liza asked hesitantly.
“That one day, the person I love the most in this world, just won’t smile, and me realizing that I just can’t do a damn about it.” Mark told her, with anger in his voice. “I used to make you laugh and smile before and now it just seemed.... impossible.” Mark added this time his voice was low filled with sadness.
Liza cried. She didn’t know what to say. All she knows was that one day she stopped to care about the two of them. That thought made her cry even more. She hugged him so tightly, to let him know that she was in great pain and that she was so sorry for everything she had done. Mark felt the message and hugged her and kissed her forehead and said that everything is going to be okay. Then they both fell asleep in the presence and warmth of each other.
The next day, it wasn’t the alarm clock that woke them up, but it was the bright sunshine over their house. It was a beautiful day. Mark woke up and kissed Liza, she kissed back too. They held each other in bed; it felt like they were back the good old days, the time when they were filled with the fire of passion and love. They kissed each other more and before they knew about it, they were making love. They were in love.
“Wow. I feel like I’m in High School again.” Mark said
“You’re not even that old, my dearest Mark.” Liza said and laughed.
“Dearest Mark? Oh I’m going to get used to that.” Mark replied and Liza laughed again.
They felt like they were doing it for the first time in forever. The ecstasy, pleasure, was all in their head and they just kept going. The spark was firing them up again, and Mark didn’t know how many times they did it that morning, but there was one thing he did know, and that was the idea that they were in love again.
That night they went to their favourite restaurant, the place where Mark proposed to Liza. It brought so many memories and they sat and talk for hours. They laughed until tears of joy came up from their eyes and they would wipe them off and laugh again. It felt like they just met for the first time, it felt that everything was going back together again.
“I remember those times. God, it feels like they were just yesterday.” Mark said, sniffing and rubbing his nose. It got irritated from all the laughing they just did.
Liza started to straighten herself up. She wiped her tears of joy and Mark saw that. It felt like she was going to say something important.
“Mark.... I..... Have to confess something.” Liza said with much hesitation.
“What is it baby?” Mark asked, he didn’t want to know. He knew that it was something bad, something really bad.
“Mark. I’ve been seeing somebody else.” Liza said in a low voice looking down at the floor.
Mark couldn’t believe it. He was shocked. “You serious, Liza? Really?” Mark said with anger in his voice. “What the hell is his name?” Mark asked with anger.
“His name is Patrick. And I love him so much.” Liza said.
“What. I can’t believe... Liza all those times? Damn!” Mark shouted and hit the table in his hand. He was angry, so angry. He trusted her and he didn’t know it would come to this point.
“I needed him Mark! I don’t know what to do! I’m sorry!” Liza shouted and started to cry. “I met him in a pet shop, he was in a cage and he was so sad. He wanted an owner. I’m so sorry Mark, I didn’t mean to cheat on you.” Liza said with a smile.
“What. What is this. Liza, you.... you....” Mark smiled and laughed. “Oh god for a minute there I thought you were.... oh Patrick. Oh god. Hahaha very funny Liza. Really.” Mark smiled trying to hold his laughter, while Liza just kept laughing in the other side of the table. “I’ll kill this Patrick guy!” Mark shouted and laughed.
“Oh no, please don’t! I love him too much!” Liza shouted and laughed heartily. They didn’t care who would complain about their noise, they don’t care who would get angry, all they care about was the two of them and their happiness.
They both went out the restaurant. It was cold and Mark offered his jacket to Liza.
“Why thank you.” Liza said with a smile.
“This feels like the best night ever.” Mark said, he was filled with happiness and joy, the same as Liza.
“Well, the night isn’t over just yet, Mark.” Liza said, hiding a message behind those words.
“Oh Liza. You....” Mark said and just smiled. “You know I’m planning to get that Patrick and let him stay in our house.” Mark added.
“Really? That’s great!”
“Yeah, I think he’s a great dog!”
“He really is, I’m sure you’ll like him.”
They kept talking until they reached their house in where they talked more and laughed and be filled by love. They drank wine, they danced and they made love to each other. Everything was perfect, everything was just the way they wanted it again, it all felt like the first time in forever.