Axel Graves taped up yet another box and pushed it to the corner with the rest of them. He’d spent most of the day organizing and packing up for the big move. The house was beginning to look less like a home with each object he tucked away. It amazed him when you took away the furniture and the pictures off the wall; all that was left were empty rooms.
Axel ran his hand across the wall as he made his way down the hall. He pushed open the door to the master bedroom and stared at the vacant space. He’d torn apart the king sized bed and left the pieces by the front door for the movers. The dresser still sat in its usual place against the wall and the picture from his wedding day still hung above it. He moved forward and touched the black and white canvas print.
Gwen had looked so beautiful that day. Her blonde hair was spiraling down in curls and flowers. Her full lips were a crimson red and her elegant, white dress hugged her perfect figure. She wore the smile of a woman in love. Her blue eyes were bright as they gazed into the face of her groom. Axel had shaved the scruff he usually kept on his face that day, just to become the perfect image for her. His black hair was freshly cut and his gray eyes were aglow. All was right that day, all was as it was intended to be.
Removing the photo off the wall, Axel dropped to the floor and sat there with his legs crossed. He closed his eyes as thought back to the day they had moved to this place. It had been Gwen’s persistence that had brought them here. She fell in love with the tiny town and the house that sat on the corner of the street with a pretty picket fence around it.
*“Three bedrooms, two baths, and in a great school district.” She smiled sweetly at him, batting her long eyelashes. “It’s the perfect place to start a family.”
“Let’s not rush into the whole family thing, sugar. I’d like to have you all to myself for a few years.” Axel pulled her into him, brushing his lips against her ear as he whispered.*
It seemed to be all she ever thought about from that day…a family. He tried to give her what she wanted, but they just couldn’t get pregnant. Five years and they never had a positive test. The disappointment had started to show in Gwen’s eyes and the light she once carried for her husband had started to dim. Did she blame him? Or did she blame herself and let it consume her completely? At the time, he was not certain so he’d gone to the doctor and found out his sperm count was low and the likeliness of him ever giving his wife a child was very slim.
Axel told Gwen the news and had thought some of the pressure would be off her after knowing that it was his fault and not hers. Things did begin to change, but not for the better as he’d hoped. She grew cold and distant. She avoided being at home and never looked at him the same. The passion that had shone so brightly in her eyes on their wedding day had faded. Nevertheless, he kept loving her through her pain.
Until that day, that day when his heart shattered with two simple words, “I’m pregnant”. She beamed at him and threw her arms around his neck. Gwen spun around in the living room, her smile radiant and contagious. Axel grinned back at her as his mind reeled for answers to this miracle. They hadn’t touched each other for months and here his wife was announcing her pregnancy.
Ten weeks in, Gwen miscarried. She holed herself up in their room for weeks. She laid curled on their bed and cried constantly. Axel tried to comfort her the best he knew how. She would shrug him off and roll over to face the opposite direction. He attempted to give her time and space, until it began to eat at him and anger him that his wife would treat him this way.
“Gwendolyn, my love, maybe you should alert the father that you lost his child,” Axel remembered how cold the words had sounded coming out of his mouth.
“It’s your fault,” She whispered in between her sobs, “All of it. I wouldn’t have had to find another man if you had just given me what I wanted.”*
Axel shook his head and found himself back in the nearly empty room of their home. He stared down at the photograph in his hands and examined the happy couple there. He pulled a pocket knife from his jeans and flipped it open. With a passionate fury, he hacked away at the newly weds looking up at him. Ripping the print to pieces. Pushing himself to his feet, he marched over to the dresser and pulled open the top drawer.
Gwen’s eyes stared up at him blank and wide. Her blonde hair pooled out on the wooden surface and where her body had once been laid a crimson stain. Axel ran his finger tips across her cheek and smiled lovingly down at her.
“It’s moving day, my love. I know you’ll be delighted to see our new home. Three bedrooms, two baths, and it’s a beautiful place to start a family.”