Luke Imagine: Trying to Fix a Divorce
There was a time when you thought he loved you.
He had fooled you - he really did, with his soft forehead kisses and gentle caresses and quiet I love you's that acted as a key to your heavily guarded heart. He opened it; cracked the safe open after patient waiting, and you let him.
You let his words fool you, you let the light in his bright blue eyes blind you, you let his touch suck out any doubts you had. You let him love you. You let yourself love him.
You let him take your heart.
And in a way, you set yourself up for letting him break it.
You thought you had something real with Luke. Something tangible, something indestructible, something infinite. You let yourself believe that what you had with Luke was love, that what you found was a once in a lifetime treasure.
He had tricked you well, you admit. He tricked you very well indeed.
He had fooled you with his first I love you, blue eyes twinkling, smiling bashfully as he waiting for your response. He had fooled you with every kiss, every laugh, every hug, every long conversation at three in the morning, bodies intertwined in a bed, talking about the universe and where the two of you fit. He had fooled you when he got down on one knee and told you that he wanted to be yours forever; that he’d be the happiest man on earth, that you completed him, that you were the one. He had fooled you exceptionally well on the day you walked towards him swathed in white, his bright blue eyes glimmering with tears - I vow to love you for the rest of my existence; for this life, for the next, forever because I finally know now my place in this universe, and it’s next to you.
He had fooled you very well that night. That night with him in his perfectly pressed tie and beam on his lips, that night where you danced with him for hours, where he leaned down to kiss you at the altar and took you for his own. The night where skin met skin, where you marked every crevice of his body as your own as he did the same to yours. The night where you joined in every way possible; the night where you had thought with a certainty in your bones, this is love.
You fell for it. You fell for it, every step of the way.
You thought your dreams were coming true. You thought you were living in some sort of fantasy when you married the man you loved - past tense - when you found out you were expecting, when you ultimately gave birth to the ray of sunshine that you would call your daughter.
You thought you had it all. A loving husband. A beautiful daughter. A perfect family.
But you learned the hard way that all things fade with time.
Your love for your precious daughter seemed to grow as Luke’s love for you diminished.
Your daughter was the light of your life - she was a part of you and you loved caring for her, no matter how tired you were. There was something in her bright blue eyes that pulled you to her, exactly like Luke’s that magnetized you.
You cared for her. You fed her and sang to her and you looked over her and played with her and read to her and you loved her with your whole heart, just like how you loved Luke.
But that changed. At least for him.
He started disappearing more and more, going to this place with the boys then going there to record then this gig and that venue - and you understood. You understood that it was his job, and this was what came with it.
But when Luke started coming back later and later, with photos on this website and that program of him and the boys out partying or seen in this club - you knew that wasn’t part of the job.
You confronted him about it, of course - but it only resulted in whisper arguments that hurt you more than screaming matches because you could hear the steady fury in his voice, an anger and weariness in his blue eyes that weren’t there before.
I’m just trying to have some fun.
And you’d laugh mirthlessly, eyes rolling.
I get that, Luke. I really do. But you’ve got other priorities now - a family. There are some other things that come before partying and drinks.
He never did change.
Luke had loved you in the beginning. He had loved you and your daughter, and the first few years were filled with happiness and joy and clumsy attempts at parenting that ended with laughter and stories to tell friends and family as a good dinnertime joke.
Your daughter’s first words. Her first step. Buying all the toys in the world for her and baking in the kitchen and singing to her on Sunday mornings. Hearing her chatter on and on about the strangest things that brought the both of you smiles in the morning and snuggling in close with each other - as a family - at night.
But as the months turned into years, it was as if his love dragged out. As if it was wearing thin.
You loved him infinitely, with all of your heart. But it was different for him.
You didn’t notice it at first. It was subtle, like soft waves starting to change direction. It wasn’t until some more time passed did you realize you were going the wrong way the whole entire time.
Luke was drifting away from you - slowly and surely, drifting away from the boy who smiled at you with innocent dimples in his cheeks, drifting away the man who told you he loved you and your daughter, lively blue eyes identical to hers as he played games with her, as he gazed into yours.
He was drifting away, and wherever he was going, it was clear that he wanted to go without you, despite his previous promises.
I promise I’ll always be by your side - forever and through infinity, through thick and thin, I’ll be there.
Sometimes he left for tour without a single phone call home.
And it hurt you when your beautiful daughter asked you when’s daddy coming back home?
You didn’t know. You didn’t know if he ever came back home again; not when there was something hollow in his eyes, lacking warmth, lacking love.
Soon, you always answered. Daddy’ll be back home soon.
Soon, the Luke that you loved would walk back through those doors with a smile on his lips and something sincere in his heart. Soon, the man that you loved would come back to you, just like he promised.
You didn’t want to.
You really didn’t.
But you had to.
You had fretted over it for nights and weeks and months of tossing and turning on your bed, alone. You were conflicted and lost, and every time you sought warmth or comfort or guidance, you would reach out and find that you were alone.
Just cold sheets and a spot where someone else should be.
And in the end, it was that empty space that echoed your decisions.
It’s for the best.
You deserved better.
You really did. You deserved someone who would help you do the dishes at night, someone to take turns doing the laundry, someone to help you fix the broken television or to help you clean the house on Sundays. You deserved someone to hold you to sleep at night and someone to come home to with a smile on their face, waiting. You deserved soft kisses on the lips after a long day of work and a long shower and cuddle sessions that melted all your worries away.
You weren’t the best person, you knew. But you thought you deserved at least that much.
And if not, then your daughter deserved better.
She deserved a father who would pick her up in his arms and carry her on his shoulders in the park. She deserved a father who would play tea party with her and a father who would kiss her head hello when he came home. She deserved a father who would protect her from the monsters under her bed, a father to watch over her as she skipped to school.
She, at the very least, deserved a phone call from her supposed father telling her where he was. Telling her that he missed her. That he loved her. That he’d be back soon.
Your daughter deserved a father.
Not a stranger who shared the same blue eyes that were always so distant and far away, even when he was in the same room.
You left the papers on his manager’s desk, folded into a white envelope with his name neatly printed on it.
You had already signed your name, contacted all the right people, went to all the meetings.
Your hands shook when you left it on the table, hesitating for a few minutes. Your breaths came out shaky and you clutched your bag so hard your knuckles nearly turned white.
But you steeled yourself and placed the envelope in the middle of his desk - to Mr. Luke Hemmings - and turned around, leaving before anyone else saw you there.
You didn’t have a place there any more.
You didn’t have a place in Luke’s heart any more.
Well, now he didn’t have a place in yours.
When’s daddy coming back again?
You held your daughter’s hand, suitcase in tow. She trailed beside you, her little pink suitcase rolling behind her, bumping in between the cracks of the sidewalk.
You had packed and left, spending the past three weeks putting your things in neat, organized boxes and shipping them to your family’s house, where you planned to stay for the next few months until you could find a place of your own.
That wasn’t home any more.
Daddy’s not coming back for a while, baby.
Your words are soft and gentle, and you try to bite back the tears. Your daughter still believed she had a father when you saw him leave a long, long time ago.
You told her the two of you would be moving - going to a new home and staying with some family for the time being.
Of course, this was met with a few temper tantrums and tears and questions that you had to painfully answer - alone, alone, always so painfully alone - but she complied. She bounced back. She always did.
And you would too.
You just didn’t know how to exactly tell your little daughter that Luke wouldn’t be there any more.
The question is simple, innocent; punctuated by two, bright eyes that looked up at you with the utmost naivete.
It hurts you more than any wounded glare could.
Daddy’s busy. He’s very busy and he won’t be coming back.
Your words are light despite the burden on your shoulders.
Daddy’s never home any more. I miss daddy.
You start to feel the weight seep into you, and it leaves you weak, barely able to move on. Barely able to bring the last set of suitcases to your family home.
These past few weeks have been so, so tiring.
You tried to smile for your family, your friends, your daughter. But it never came out right any more. Not ever since Luke started to fade away.
There’s one more thing he took.
I miss him too.
Your words are quiet, but your daughter still hears them, her hands squeezing yours comfortingly.
But mommy’s here now. Mommy’s always going to be here for you, okay? I’m not going anywhere. Mommy’s not going to leave like daddy.
Your words start to shake with tears, but you’re not sure your daughter hears it. You hope she doesn’t. This hasn’t been easy on her too, whether or not she knows the full picture - it hasn’t been easy on either of you.
You had to stay strong. Just like you always did.
You remember when you asked the very same thing to Luke, the same hopeful lilt in your voice as your daughter’s, so many years ago when he said he would stay by your side forever.
Oh, how things have changed.
But you haven’t. You still kept your promises, and though your heart is heavier guarded now, you still kept your word with your whole heart.
Though the positions are reversed now, you aren’t one to let someone you love down.
He comes home to a half-empty house.
Half a closet full of clothes. Bedrooms bare, walls of pictures and drawings stripped. Bathroom counters left half-touched, kitchen empty.
It was eerie - how half the house was living, as if it was half-breathing, struggling to cling on to life. As if it was half dead already.
He’s confused and dazed and shocked, the silence turning numb in his ears.
When he picks up the call from his manager, the explanation falls on him like weights, pulling him down as he drowned in the emptiness.
He asks again, just to check. It can’t be true. It couldn’t be true.
Not when you were still in this very house six months ago, a half-smile on your lips and a happy beam on your daughter’s face.
(it was always a half-smile. the house was always half-empty - he just didn’t notice. he was the empty half, and now that he was truly alone, he sees just what he’s done.)
But that was six months ago.
Luke calls you, and your phone rings once, twice, three times.
You see the caller ID, and you know it’s him. You’ve been waiting for it.
You knew he was coming back today, sitting on the couch biting your nails, a nervous wreck.
But when you picked up the phone, you were calm, cool, and collected.
Unfeeling, despite the soft flickers that sparked once you heard his voice again.
Is this some sick joke?
You brace yourself, telling yourself to stand firm.
You remember the empty bed. You remember the questions of where’s daddy from your daughter’s lips, and you remember the loneliness that ate you inside out every night.
Does it look like I’m laughing, Luke? I can hardly remember the last time I’ve smiled because of you.
You can hear him breathing on the other end; sharp, quick intakes of breaths as if he forgot how to breathe. As if he was suffocating.
Suffocating from the emptiness.
When he speaks again, his next words are cracked, broken. Chipped on the edges and hoarse when they leave his throat.
Come back home.
You can’t hold back a mirthless laugh, your voice twisted in a way that you can barely recognize.
Can’t you see, Luke? I was always there. Always waiting. It was you who never came back. You were the one who never came back, and guess what?
You take a deep breath, trying to pace yourself and refrain from letting all the bitterness and anger seep into your voice.
I’m finding a new home.
He’s silent, as still as stone. He doesn’t say a word, and you didn’t expect him to.
You hang up the phone, and Luke can’t help but to think that the flat line sounds a lot like a final goodbye.
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