She had a breakdown in the bathroom again.
Her hands clenched the sides of the sink, knees trembling as her body slid down slowly. Her chest heaved with exhaustion, mouth gasping for more air; eyes glimmering with fresh tears.
There is no explanation.
Her husband sat in their children's bedroom, reading the same short story for the fifth time that night. Their daughter already fell asleep on the other side of the room. She knew her son kept looking at the sticker stars she put on the walls. The nightlight spun tiny circles like planets orbiting the room. He loved everything about outer space.
Yes, think about him. Think about your children. Think about the man you love who is caring for them right now.
The fear of facing him after the mental meltdown stopped any breathing she gained control of earlier. The best she could do was to breathe as normally as her lungs would let her. Ah, but the part which hindered this involuntary action was her throat. The choking, tensing, squeezing; it constricted the air she desperately needed. She perfected the art of crying silently years ago. Now, she needed to ace stopping hyperventilation in its tracks. If only it could be done instantly.
Then, no one would know.
Pity would not be given.
She would burden only herself.
Looking towards the shower, she turned the knobs quickly, stripping off her clothes and crawling into the bathtub. The water pelted her body, mixing the tears with water, and drowning the quiet cries. A few minutes later, she regained her composure, but continued to sit in the calming compulsion of water. He knocked at the door and told her he would meet her in bed. She acknowledged by giving him a quick "Okay," and some moments later turned off the water. She dried herself off, put her clothes in the hamper, and padded off to their bedroom. Quietly, she stepped towards the cradle in the corner of the room. Her baby girl was fast asleep for once--a blessing for a peaceful night. Throwing the towel to the chair in their room, she slipped under the covers to lie next to him.
One of the best moments of her life was being next to her husband while he slept. The room was always at a chilled temperature because both could not sleep in the heat. His hair waved and fell in front of his face, hugging along its long and firm jawline. Sometimes, he fell asleep with his glasses on, and they would lay crooked on his nose. The man she married became innocent and sweet when his eyes were closed. Soft snores emerge every so often; the sound of security to her ears. Nights like these, she could not sleep and she watched him stack up the hours for both of them.
Time was kind to them; they still looked and acted young, but the bags under their eyes hinted to the multiple sleepless nights they encountered to finally end up in their happy and content future.
They found each other.
They acquired steady jobs.
They owned a house.
They nurtured three children.
They remained in love.
She reminded herself how far they came from their teenager years. How a seventeen year old girl found an undying love for one boy, no matter the pain and patience. Multiple unfortunate events created a chasm in their relationship early, taking her away from him so many times. They lived through the distance put between them and never took their time together for granted. She then realized how far away she was from his sleeping frame and scooted closer to him, closing her eyes, and resting her head on his chest. His arms instinctively wrapped around her; his lips securing a kiss on top of her head.
Happiness is all in the mind. She shifted around until she was comfortable and put the worries of unhappiness in the far corners of her mind. Everyone needed her, even if the pain of never needing herself haunted her moves. It seemed so long ago she promised him she would live and love him as long as she possibly could. Taking her life would break such a promise. For him and for the kids, she fought her own demons every night. They would always be worth the writhing in her chest and the constrictions in her stomach.
They would always be worth the pain of living.