It didn’t hurt anymore – she’d gotten used to it. The screams just died in her throat these days. All that remained was this constant ache in her heart. And a sense of betrayal that refused to die down no matter how much her mind thought otherwise. He had loved her. She was conscious of the past tense every time that sentence came up. Had loved her. She doubted if there was any left now. She had always believed that a heart that loved cannot hate. If hate comes in, love tiptoes away. Unheard, unseen, but felt by the heart. But she stayed on because she still loved him. Inspite of everything, she did. And she truly believed that love conquers all and giving up was not something she could ever do. But today, she was also conscious of the foreboding in her heart that something was to go wrong. Very wrong.

He hated himself. Not her, but himself. He hated his dependence on alcohol. He hated himself everytime he hurt her, physically or otherwise. He longed for those wonderful times they had spent with each other when he was not the monster he was now. The laughs, the long never ending sweet nothings…her smile! He could not remember the last time he had seen her smile, the smile he had loved more than anything else about her. Now all he found were tears. And fear! There was always a fear in her eyes. He sometimes wished she wouldn’t take all that he did and just leave. But she never let go. He loved her more for that but, somehow, that could never stop him from having that one last drink.

They found their bodies the next morning. She lay crumpled at the foot of the bed, the bedstead streaked crimson – crimson like the floor beneath her. His body was hanging from a rope tied to the ceiling fan – looking down at her, asking for her forgiveness one last time and loving her more than ever.

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