Mark showered and got dressed. He walked out of his room and saw Catherine seated at the dining table. She had made coffee, for two, but she just held her mug in both hands, looking down and staring at it. He got the other coffee-filled mug and took a seat right across her.
Mark spoke calmly this time, "Look Catherine, it is foolish for me to lie about how I really feel about you. I never stopped loving you, perhaps I never will. But I am tired of our silly games, playing hide-and-seek. I am damn too proud to live the rest of my life as your sex pet, wagging my tail at your beck and call. I want to be able to move on with my life. But I want you in it. If I ever start to see other women, there is absolutely no way in hell I can see you dealing with that well. I know you. But I can't see how this ... whatever this is that we have, is ever going to change. Not now or even in the future. At least not on these ridiculous terms. Jesus, we have been doing this for almost four years and..." He stops abruptly as Catherine looks up at him, her tears already streaming down her face.
"Catherine, you should know that I was not even looking. What do you want from me? What else can I give you that I have not already given? I have suffered more than enough. The day you left me and the day you married Brad, I died. But having you like this; stealing time to be with you, lying to my family, my friends, even to myself, why do we need to love this way? I asked you before, several times, how could we go on like this? It hurts you and it hurts me more." Mark stood from where he sat and moved towards Catherine.
Her hands were shaking so badly he had to take her coffee mug and rest it on the table. He cupped Catherine's hands with his, he squatted in front of her and looked searchingly into her eyes.
"I know you can't leave Brad. You would have if you wanted to, a long time ago. I don't have to know the reasons why to accept them, and respect them." Mark tenderly said.
Catherine broke down into uncontrollable sobs. Her whole body convulsively trembled. Mark squeezed her hands tighter.
He spoke evenly. "Catherine you have no clue how much this is killing me, again. I love you so much. But I also love you enough to let you go and rebuild your marriage, your family. I know you want to, badly. We could have stopped ourselves earlier, but we didn't. We can't. I still don't want to, but I have to. I need to."
A long quiet pause.
She breathed out a reply, hardly audible, "Are you saying goodbye? Are you telling me we're over?"
Mark's voice cracked as he replied with a punishing sad smile, "There is no "WE", Catherine. There was once, but no, for a long time now. It is not "We" or "US", it's been you and I."
He slowly stood up and pulled Catherine up to him. They hugged. Tightly. She still wobbled but Mark held her close. Quiet tears now rolled down on Mark's face. They stood there for a long time, holding each other close.
It was Catherine who pulled away, she looked at him, gingerly, her eyes were swollen but fresh tears just kept on pouring; she was about to say something but she kissed him instead on the lips.
She kissed him with all her heart and soul and in that kiss she re-lived piercingly all her pain, her misery, her loss. Kissing him this way unlocked all the beautiful moments they shared.
Mark kissed her back with the same intensity and force, he felt his heart being squeezed and eventually breaking into small fragments. Their tears trickled down their lips as they kissed while the world stopped turning.
And just like that, Catherine broke away from the embrace, without saying anything, she grabbed her purse and walked out of Mark's door for the last time.
He stood there where she had left him, unable to breathe, unable to move. He watched her walked away without turning around. He stared at her back until she disappeared. Then he heard the sound of a car speeding away, the tires friction on the road ringing in his ears.
Finally, Mark slumped down on the chair, he covered his face with his hands. He realized her fragrance had left an imprint when they held hands, he breathed in deeply, burrowing unto the scent to remember her.
Suddenly a loud, earthly grating sound erupted from his throat. He bent his knees and folded them up on the seat in a foetal position. And started sobbing like a baby.