A heart-wrenching story about a woman who walks away from her family, only to return one day, determined to fight back for all she left behind and gave up on. And today, I have a never seen before alternate POV scene for you, an entire chapter seen through the hero’s eyes!! Sit back and get ready to have your heart torn out of your chest by reading this scene from My Biggest Mistake…
Alternate POV Scene
I saw the front door open across the street before I even had a chance to get out of the van. The sight alone exhausted me. She just wouldn’t give up. No matter what I did, or what I said, she always came back for more. I didn’t understand it since she walked away upset every single time. It broke me each time—the more her shoulders sagged in defeat, the look in her eyes that gave away her pain. But no matter how much all of that broke me, slowly chipped away at my heart and soul, nothing could compare to the total devastation she dealt me two years ago. And that’s what stuck with me through every moment with her.
I couldn’t let go of that pain.
I tried to quickly get the kids from the back of the van before she made it over, but she proved to be just too quick. Mikey pointed behind me and asked, “Daddy, who’s that?” I didn’t need to look to know who he was talking about. It was as if I could feel her behind me.
“That’s our new neighbor, son. She lives across the street.” I closed the door and turned to her, keeping my eyes on the driveway beneath my feet. I couldn’t look her in the eye without feeling the pressure of the pain that still resided in my chest. “Let me get them inside and I’ll be right out,” I mumbled to her and then walked away, not giving her a chance to respond.
The kids ran inside ahead of me, too carefree to understand the storm that brewed just outside our front door. They had no idea the magnitude of the new neighbor, and how two years ago, our lives changed for the worse. Now, I had a feeling they were about to change again, and not at all for the better.
“Hey, guys,” I called them back to me. “I need you to clean your rooms. Pick up all of your clothes and put them in the laundry room and make sure all the toys are put away—not shoved under your beds.”
With minimal whining, they spun around and headed up the stairs. I needed a moment before heading back outside to face my wife, but found myself staring out the front window at her. She was close to the front door, looking at the flowerbeds. She appeared to be sad, her eyes downcast and her lips turned down into a frown. I wondered what she saw when she looked at the shrubbery, but couldn’t find the answers in her expression.
Her eyes gutted me.
But the memory of her leaving lit a fire, taking up the space that she’d left behind. I whipped open the door, feeling that fire grow hotter, stronger the longer she stood there, looking as if she’d been the victim. Looking as though I’d been the one to walk out on her.
Before I could find words to say, she spoke. “I took the measurements for the windows that need to be replaced.” She held out a piece of paper and I took it from her, not once meeting her dull eyes.
I barely read the numbers that were jotted down in her big, loopy handwriting. I wouldn’t have been able to read them anyway, all I could see as I held the paper was the letter I’d come home to that fateful day two years ago. The day that ruined the perfect life I had. “So, three windows, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct. The front window, the bedroom window, and the small one is for the kitchen window above the sink.”
I still couldn’t make eye contact with her, and barely heard her explanation, other to make out the brokenness of her tone. “That’s no problem. I’ll go sometime this week and pick them up. I’ll call Nancy to make sure they’re good with her first, though. And then I can install them over the weekend. Is that fine?” I didn’t need to ask Nancy. We’d already spoken about Edie fixing some of the things around the house, and I’d already prepared myself to help her out. After all, I’d wanted to have all of those things fixed for Nancy when she made the decision to rent her house out, but she refused my assistance. At least this way I would be able to start repaying her for all of the help she’d given me over the years.
I finally looked up and met her gaze head on. I could see in her eyes how timid she was, and knew coming here was just as hard on her as it was for me. Part of me wanted her to stop and just go away, wished that she hadn’t ever come back. But seeing her after so long made me want to hold her and never let her go. She broke my heart, shattered my life, but for some reason, I wanted to let her heal me.
She played with rings on her left finger, spinning them around and around. I hadn’t allowed myself to even look at what rings they were until then. And the longer she played with them, the more I needed to know if they were the same ones I’d placed on her hand so many years ago. So many years it felt like another lifetime.
I grabbed her hand, giving into the temptation to see for myself which rings they were. And the sight nearly knocked the wind out of me. I ran my finger over the diamond I’d given her when I asked her to be my wife, and then spun the gold band behind it around, remembering the day I had placed it there. It was the day I promised to love her forever. The day I vowed to stand by her through sickness and health, good times and bad. And I’d done that. But she didn’t.
My hand stilled, not releasing the grip I had on hers, and I met her gaze. My heart pounded in my chest and I had to fight back the tears that burned the backs of my eyes. I made a promise to myself long ago, that if she ever came back, I’d never let her see me cry. She didn’t deserve it. “When did you put these back on?”
“Two weeks shy of eight years ago.” Her voice was strong and confident, the exact opposite of how I felt.
“You’ve never taken them off?”
Shaking her head, she answered, “No. I’ve worn them every day since you put them there.” She let out a deep sigh and I swear I felt the breath wash over me, filling me with sadness and confusion. And then her eyes moved from my face to my own hand.
I knew what she saw the moment her sight landed on my bare finger. I knew the pain she must’ve felt as she noticed the missing ring. The ring I hadn’t worn in over a year. But the one thing she didn’t know, the one thing I would never tell her, was that I may have taken it off, but I never put it away. It sat on my dresser, and every morning, I touched it. And every night, I stared at it. It was always there. Just like she’d always been in my heart. In my thoughts. Just not in my life.
I shoved my hand into my pocket, fearing I’d confess everything to her. Fearing I’d pull her into me and tell her how much I loved her and how much I’d missed her. I couldn’t do that. So instead, I pushed my hand into my pocket, holding myself at a distance from the only woman I had ever loved.
“Did you leave me for someone?” I asked in a rush of air, hearing how soft the words came out. I needed to say something, ask anything to keep from giving in. I didn’t want to hear the answer. I’d spent two years allowing my sick imagination to run wild with the possibilities of why she left. Hearing her admit to it would be the last nail on my coffin. But maybe that’s what I needed. I needed the hard truth to let me know that my decision to cut her off was the right one.
“No. Never,” she said in a strong, determined voice, shaking her head adamantly.
“I thought you might’ve met someone and ran off with him.”
“No. That wasn’t it. There was never anyone else. I’ve only ever loved you.”
That felt like a punch to my gut. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Her finger was meant to be bare. Her eyes weren’t supposed to be sad. And I needed to hear her tell me how she found someone new, someone better, someone so spectacular that she packed her bags and left her family behind. I couldn’t believe that she left for another reason. “So you were just stressed?”
“Yeah, I was really stressed.” She shuffled on her feet, showing me the anxiety that ran through her. It was evident that there was more she wasn’t saying.
I ran my hand through my hair, probably showing her just how anxious I felt. My insides were twisted, my chest burned, and my throat closed. Stress? She really left me and the kids because of stress? I couldn’t believe it. It just didn’t make any sense.
“Why didn’t you just come to me, Edie? Why couldn’t you talk to me about it? That’s the part I don’t understand. I was always there for you, anytime you needed me. I would have done anything for you, but instead, you just left. You never even gave me the chance to understand.” The words barely made it past the lump in my throat, but they scratched their way out, each syllable clawing its way to freedom.
“I’m pretty sure I was suffering from post-partum depression. I was twenty-three years old and had three babies. I didn’t have a mom to turn to, and your mom never did anything other than point out every single mistake I made. I love her to death, but one can only take so much before they snap. I worried most of the time that you thought the same as she did. So in my mind, if I went to you, you would have told me the same things she did. I couldn’t handle hearing you tell me in a nice way how much of a piece of shit I was. All of that made me depressed…and sad…all the time. You know that I never left the house unless I didn’t have a choice. You knew I wasn’t okay—you used to ask me all the time what was wrong—”
“That’s what I’m saying, Edie,” I choked out, interrupting her. “I asked you all the time to talk to me. Instead, you closed up and chose not to. You chose to tell me everything was fine. You were just tired. You had a headache, you had a stomach bug, you had this or that. Not once did you tell me you were feeling depressed. You shut me out. You closed yourself off until you couldn’t take it anymore and then you left. I was in the dark for everything…because you put me there.” The pain inside became too real. There’s no way she could’ve been suffering that much and I didn’t know. Because if it was true, that meant I’d let her down. And I couldn’t handle the thought of her suffering without me. That thought burned me more than her leaving for another man.
“I know.” She reached her hand out to me and all I could do was take a step back. The fear and pain mixed inside, and the fire built even stronger. If she touched me, I knew she’d feel it course beneath my skin. “I fucked up, Donnie!”
I took another step back. Her desperate shout nearly knocked me over.
“I made a mistake and I know that what I did was wrong. I know I can’t go back in time and change anything. But I’m here now. I’m trying to make it right. I’m trying to do the right thing now. My head was in the wrong place two years ago. I was living in a fog—I was tired, I was stressed, and I was scared. Think about it for two seconds, please. I was young and going through things I had never experienced before. Other than you, I didn’t have a support system. All of my friends were just as young as I was, and most of them were single and busy with college. I cried every night in the shower to myself because I was too scared to talk to anyone. My fear was that someone would think I was crazy and then take my kids away—”
“It couldn’t have been that big of a fear if you just walked away from them.” I needed to interject some of my own anger, because if I didn’t, I would’ve broken down. Hearing her tell me about how she cried every night in the shower crushed me. More than crushed me. It killed me, slaughtered me, and left me so empty I could’ve blown away with one small gust of wind.
“I told you, I wasn’t thinking clearly. In my fucked-up brain, leaving them was better than having them taken from me. I thought if I gave myself some time, I would be able to clear my head and come back.” She had moved on from talking normal, and began to yell, her voice raising higher and higher with each word.
“And it took you two damn years to rid yourself of the stress?” I yelled back.
“No.” One word, whispered into the air between us, no longer filled with rage. And it let me know more than anything else she’d said thus far. “I found myself in a worse depression. Most days, I didn’t know if I’d make it through. I got your emails and messages, and it only made things worse for me. That’s why I deleted everything. It wasn’t because I was trying to cut you out…I was only trying to stop hating myself.”
My hands itched to reach out to her. My arms felt heavy with the need to hold her. She had gotten my messages. Each time I’d leave one, or send her an email, I’d wait around for her to respond. The longer it took, the angrier I became. The more I tried to hate her. All the while, she was somewhere else, hating herself. She left because she was sad, lonely…depressed, and all the while, when she needed someone to love her the most, I spent the time convincing myself to hate her.
“I’d had this neighbor who was fucking persistent. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was a retired psychologist. I opened up to her after a while and she helped me through a lot of it. Without her, I don’t even want to think about what would’ve happened to me. It took a lot of time, but I was finally able to see things clearer. I wanted to come home. I regretted what I did and wanted to make it right. But I was so scared of what I’d come home to find. I was scared of how you’d react, how the kids would treat me, what our friends and family would do. That’s why I stayed away. I was ready to come back a year ago.”
“What’s the difference now? If you were too scared a year ago, why weren’t you too scared this time? Did you run out of money? Is that what it is? You came back because you needed something?”
“I don’t need money. I had a job while I was gone and lived well below my means. I didn’t come back because I needed anything from you.” She forced her words out through clenched teeth, showing her anger. “I came back because I no longer give a fuck what anyone else thinks. I only care about making things right and getting my kids back.” She took one step in my direction. “That’s all I care about. You and our kids.”
I felt lost in the emotions that swirled within me, so when she came closer, my feet moved to her without permission. We stepped into each other until we were chest to chest, and I could feel her breath against my skin. She lifted her head, and before I could think better of it, I reached up and held her cheeks in my hands. There was one thing I needed to know more than anything at that moment. “Why didn’t you just talk to me? If you would have come to me… If you had only given me the chance to help you, things would be…” I realized the words that left my lips and I couldn’t finish them. I couldn’t tell her the truth.
“Things would be what?”
Better. Fine. The way they were meant to be. “Different.” I dropped my hands from her face because I felt so defeated. I had so many thoughts in my head, but I couldn’t say them, so I left it with that one word. Not wanting to give her any hope, because that’s how she left me—hopeless.
I wanted to tell her how much I loved her—how much I continued to love her even after she left. Even after she came back. I wanted her to know that my love never went away. But I couldn’t. Because even though my love remained, my hope had been lost. My dreams shattered. My life empty. And it was all because of her. So it didn’t matter how things would have been had she let me help her all those years ago. It didn’t matter how I felt about her after everything. Because nothing changes the fact that she left me.
She gutted me.
She gave up on me.