Endless: Encore by Kaylene Winter
I’m all alone. Away from my wife. My band. For who knows how long. Not that it matters. I’m not certain if any of them will ever speak to me again after I blew my life to smithereens. I know I wouldn’t. After all of the love and trust my band brothers showed me over the years, how did I repay them?
I lied to them.
Treated them like shit.
Blamed them for things that weren’t their fault.
Selfishly made them put up with my bullshit.
Worse? I sold Zoey a package of goods I couldn't deliver. I sucked her back into my life for my own selfish purposes. Hiding my truth. A truth that has bitten me in the ass, just as I knew it would. A truth that has changed the very fabric of my life and that of the people around me.
Zoey is the only woman I’ll ever love, and after what I did? Things will never be the same. For that, I take full responsibility. Doesn't make it easier to bear. I'm a realist. There's no way she could possibly honor the commitments we made to each other now. There's no way she could possibly still love me.
Let alone stay married to me.
I’m in agony. Every part of me aches. My heart. My body. My soul.
It's completely my fault. All of this could have been avoided. Years of therapy gave me all the tools. Stubbornly, I ignored the warning signals when they were blaring everywhere around me. Instead, I rushed Zoey into getting married before she knew what she was really signing up for. Begged her to get pregnant before confessing a past that would permeate every part of our future. All in some desperate attempt to hold on to her.
To hold on to us.
Sure, I’d convinced myself I was fine. Healed. Hell, I thought I knew better. I really, really did. I was lying to myself, though. And lying to everyone who matters to me. I’ve destroyed my life. Irreparably so. My past few months have been a master class in reckless, impulsive behavior. Now, I'll pay the price forever.
With everything that I've lost, there's one important reason I'm here. A singular motivation. I want to get well. Need to get well. If only to be part of my son’s life. To have a chance to be the father I know I can be. I'm going to do anything and everything I can to make it up to him, even if he hasn't been born yet.
I may have burned my bridges with everyone closest to me, but I'll never do that to him.
I set Zoey free last night. Just like she did for me all those years ago. I get why she did it now. When you truly love someone, you want them to have everything good in the world. Even if it's without you.
Especially if it's without you.
We’re tied together forever. Having a baby is what I—we both—wanted. If I'm lucky, I'll have a new start. A new life. Zoey and I will raise our son together, even if we're apart. He'll be here soon.
Which is why I find myself at this treatment center. It’s my chance to find a way to live with myself. Hopefully, to reestablish healthy relationships with the people who are most important to me. Maybe even put the past behind me, without forgetting that it will always be a part of me.
Lying on the double bed in my sparse room, I take in my surroundings. A small window looks out into the desert. Adobe tile lines one wall. The built-in wardrobe and desk are all constructed out of warm, brown wood. The bathroom is large, finished in caramel tile. It’s a lot nicer than I thought it would be. Very upscale Southwestern.
Appropriate, I guess. The treatment facility is in the middle of Arizona. Where it’s quiet. Where I'll have absolutely no distractions.
For the first time in my life, it's just me. Facing myself. Figuring out who I am and who I want to be.
I’m scared absolutely shitless.
Someone knocks on the door. “Tyson, I’m here to take you to your first appointment.”
Immediately, the emotions take over.
I don’t want this to be happening.
But it is. It fucking is.
“I’ll be right there,” I manage to choke out. Tears spill down my cheeks. I open the door.
“Are you ready to begin the rest of your life?” The middle-aged nurse with horn-rimmed glasses smiles encouragingly at me.
I nod, unable to speak.
I hope so. I really fucking hope so.