Break - Erik Durm
“We should take a break,” Erik announced, breaking the tense silence. I turned from where I was leaning against the doorway and faced him.
“What, like see other people?” I asked, sniffling.
“I-I don’t really know. I guess. But I just think that maybe it’d be a good idea if we didn’t see each other for a while,” he suggested. I nodded slowly, hurt but realizing he was probably right.
“Ok,” I began, wiping my face and brushing my hair behind my ears. “I’ll go to Kat’s place and—“
“No,” Erik interrupted. “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s 2 AM and besides, this was always more your home than it was mine. I’ll just get a hotel, I’m used to them,” he insisted.
“It’s not that it was more my home, it’s just that you were never home,” I countered.
“It’s my job, Y/N,” he explained helplessly, “I can’t—“
“I know,” I stopped him, “I didn’t mean to start again. Sorry.” He nodded quickly before grabbing a few things from the bedroom.
“Uhm, I’ll pick up some more stuff when you’re at work,” he said while we stood awkwardly at the front door.
“Ok, I guess this is good-bye then?” I said uncertainly.
“Goodbye, Y/N,” he said before walking out and shutting the door behind him. The second he was gone I collapsed into a fit of tears. The man I once thought would one day become my husband just walked out of my life.
The passing days did not come any easier. I called in sick, which wasn’t even a lie because I was in fact sick with guilt, with sadness. It took all my effort not to pick up the phone, call him, and beg him to come home. But he wanted this. He wanted to leave and I loved him too much to force him to stay here if he wasn’t happy.
Noon on Saturday, I decided to watch one last game of his before getting back to my life and trying to move on. He came out of the tunnel looking serious, almost angry, but I figured he was just focused. Erik played as skilfully as ever, expertly handing the ball whenever it came to his feet.
I wasn’t sure, but I thought he might have been playing a little more aggressively than he usually did. However, my inklings were confirmed when in a matter of seconds, he forcefully collided with another player and among the booing of the crowd, a red card was whipped out and Erik was forced to walk off the field. It was rare for him to even get a yellow; this was unprecedented. In the back of my mind, I thought, maybe he wasn’t focused. Maybe he misses me too. But I quickly suffocated the idea and rationed that he was just giving more than his all today. The game finished with a loss for his team and I flipped off the TV.
With a deep breath, I finally rose from the couch and headed for a shower. But when I finished and returned to the living room, there was someone sitting on the couch.
“Oh my God,” I gasped with a fright.
“Shit,” Erik said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were at work. I came by to pick up some things, but I’ll come back later if—“
“No, it’s fine. Uhm, I called in sick today and you’re already here, so, have at it,” I insisted, feeling very grateful that I had the sense to get dressed in the bathroom before walking out.
“Sick, are you ok?” he asked somewhat hesitantly.
“Yeah, I just needed a day off, that’s all,” I lied, walking away from him and into the kitchen, but he was following me.
“I could have used a day off today,” he laughed airily.
“You talking about that red card?” I questioned, focused on making myself a cup of tea.
I shrugged and turned to face him. “Old habits die hard, I guess. So what happened?”
He exhaled heavily and slumped his shoulders. “I don’t know. Just needed someone to take my anger out on.”
I stopped stirring and placed my hands on the counter. “Are you…angry at me?”
He shook his head slowly and looked down at his hands. “At myself.”
“For?” I asked, walking around the kitchen island to where he was sitting.
He looked up at me suddenly and bore into my eyes. “For walking out on you.”
My mouth popped open slightly and I was eager for him to explain.
“I don’t know why I thought leaving you would do me any good. I’ve been a mess, Y/N. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I can’t even breathe knowing that you’re not right here with me. If it’s too late, I understand. If you want to move on, if this break has been good for you, then I’m glad. But if there’s still even a chance that you love me, I’m begging you to give me another chance,” he pleaded.
I stood silently, trying to keep reign on the tears forming in my eyes. He reached out his hand and I took it.
“Erik, I haven’t been to work in a week. I sit by the phone wearing your jersey every night. I wanted to call you and tell you to come home so badly,” I whimpered.
“Why didn’t you?” he whispered, pulling me into him.
“I thought you wanted to leave,” I shrugged, my voice cracking.
“No. No, I never wanted to leave. I just thought that it would maybe help, but clearly I was wrong. Can I come back home, please?”
“Only if you promise never to leave again.”