One Day At A Time…

Another little installment to that book idea that still doesn’t have a name. If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it!

“It’s so weird,” Kyleigh said as her thumb rubbed over the rim of her mug. “I can actually feel myself getting worse again. It sort of just… crept up on me. I thought I was fine. I was on the mend, you know? I held my chin up, I could talk straight to people, I knew what I was doing. I didn’t get those flutterings in my stomach as often as before, and I could actually focus.”
A wry smile crossed her lips. “But now, it’s like I’m just a mess and I don’t know how to clean myself up. I have no motivation. I just want to stay in bed until it all goes away and life starts to magically feel right again. All I seem to be able to do is scroll through Facebook or binge watch Downton Abbey or Vampire Diaries. Anything to numb my mind. But the minute I stop, it all comes pouring back in. All the things I didn’t do, all the things I shouldn’t have done. I think about the conversations, the laughs, the good times that should have all been burned up in the wreckage. I remember what a freakin’ idiot I am and how absolutely narcotic I’ve become nowadays.”
Kyleigh turned toward the window framed in gauzy white curtains. The sun slanted through the clear panes to fall across the table. Outside, the trees danced in a strong summer wind, the shades of green waving at her, calling for her to get a breath of fresh air. Maybe it would make her feel better.
“Just to think that about two weeks ago, everything seemed to have this… routine. I’d get up, go to work, come home and do what needed to be done. All without really worrying about anything. Sure, I’d have my moments here and there, but that was manageable.” She bit her lips together and shook her head. “But then I finally realized that something had to change. I did. I stopped giving a crap about the one thing that was tormenting my existence. I forced myself not to care, not to give in. I started hating him again. The way I did when I left. It felt right. It was comfortable. It was easier to cope that way.”
Feeling the weight of it all settle on her shoulders, Kyleigh let her head fall into her hand. “And then I had to get that email. That damned email. I should have never checked. I knew digging up the past was just going to hurt me again, but I thought I was fine. I swore I was fine! But that one email hit me so hard for no good reason. It wasn’t about anything. It changed nothing. He’s still an ass, but my heart wanted it to be something more.”
She propped her chin in her palm and stared out the window again. “I was angry again. Irritable. I’ve been snapping at everyone at work. I’d just pray every minute of the day that they would leave me alone and go away. I couldn’t stand company. I still can’t, really. And that’s when I started screwing up. I feel like I’ve just been flopping around like a dying fish or something. My words aren’t coming out right, I’m not understanding what people are asking, I’m just… standing there like a moron and it infuriates me. I always have it all together and because of that one damned email…”
Kyleigh couldn’t bring herself to finish and let out a long sigh as the feelings came back. The anxiety, the depression, the need for it all just to stop for a few moments so she could catch her breath.
“Maybe I did too much. Maybe I’ve been trying too hard, but I know I can’t go back. Not after all these years. I can’t tell you how hard it’s been not to check on him. Not to get on social media and try to see if he’s happy. If he’s doing okay. Is he still at his old job? What about his family? Are they happy too? Is he just as messed up as me? I know it’d all be pointless and that’s why I can’t do it, but it hurts so much not to know or even try.”
She took another sip of her chamomile tea. “I’ve been checking my emails every hour now, just to see if he’d send another one. I know he won’t. I mean, why would he? Why waste his time? I thought I was done hanging onto something that didn’t belong to me anymore. It’s like waiting for someone dead to come walking back through the door like they never left in the first place. It just hurts and… I just want it all to stop.”
Kyleigh looked to the black cat sitting patiently upon the dining table. Her tail was curled around her paws, the tip thumping lazily as golden eyes watched her new owner. In those eyes was a look of absolute intelligence, like she actually understood everything Kyleigh was saying.
“I just need to stop giving a fuck about everything, but I’m stuck between two gears. Drive and reverse… I know I shouldn’t have looked back. Not when I was doing so well… Now, I’m just so tired. So fed up, but I can’t move on. Like, I’m still changed to this bastard and I lost the lock somewhere along the way.”
The cat slowly blinked, but her attention never wavered.
“I need to get on with my life, but what did I have? Did I even have a life before, or was it just me trying to get drag myself away from some four year old drama that I should have been done with? I don’t know if I remember how to get over it again.”
Kyleigh paused in her rant as the cat soundlessly stood and padded across the space between them. Her little black head dipping under Kyleigh’s chin and the rumble of a purr crawled across her skin. Reflexively, she pet the soft, silky fur along her spine and moved her teacup out of the way before any stray hairs fell into it. The cat shed like crazy in this heat.
After a moment of letting the normally shy, reserved animal love on her, Kyleigh felt this overwhelming relief settle over her. The feeling like, the past was miles away for the first time in ages. She might have been a screwup. She might have still been a crash zone with shattered bits of soul and heart mingled in the wreckage of her life. But at least she wasn’t alone. Not anymore.
Scratching behind the cat’s delicate ear, she allowed herself a smile. A real one, untainted by all the things she regretted and all the things she couldn’t change.
“I guess we’ll just take it one day at a time.”

About Sheritta Bitikofer

Sheritta Bitikofer is an author of eclectic tastes. When she's not writing her next historical fiction or urban fantasy novel, she can be found volunteering at her local animal shelter, shooting archery at a medieval reenactment event, trekking across a battlefield, watching a historical documentary, or having coffee with her husband at their favorite café. A wife and fur-mama to two rescue dogs, she makes time to write engaging and moving stories about shifters, vampires, and magic that enthrall readers from cover to cover.
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