3 Replies to “7.1.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Some nights she waited before climbing the stairs to bed. Waited till the tv had cooled and the night had grown still and all the sounds of the house were sleep sounds. She waited till she could hear his breath through the walls, the heavy burr and sawing of the air, and she drew small comfort from that. Then she crept to bed and undressed in the near dark, her clothes leaving her, making a sound soft as blown whispers as they slipped to the floor, and she snuck like a thief in beside him, careful not to wake him.

    Other nights she was there before him, her head on the pillow and her eyes closed, pretending to sleep. Those nights she heard him, every small move that he made, and the sighs that he offered up like prayers, and the air held in his cheeks and then let go. Once, he said her name, small as thought, and she almost turned to answer; but she did not. Those nights she felt the bed shift when he lay down next to her, felt the darkness cover her like a blanket, and his hand reach for her and never find her; and, some time after, she felt the slow tug of sleep pull him from her.

    Everything was a pretence these days, she thought. Good morning, she said when he came down for breakfast, his face crumpled and creased and his hair all shocked. Good morning, echoed Julia, ten years old and all the world to her was still good. He kissed the child and then he kissed her, kissed the air between him and her cheek, and he smiled, only it was not really smiling, she could see that; he was pretending too.

    And they went through the whole song and dance of husband and wife, right there in front of the child and for the child. They swapped details of their day ahead, the times and the places, and they arranged to meet for lunch, except she remembered just in time that she’d an appointment somewhere, and so they turned to who would make dinner and who to pick up Julia from school. And they smiled and made their voices light as singing and so the false day began and unfolded before them.

    When he was gone and Julia was gone, too, then there was no need anymore to pretend. Then she broke cups and screamed and cried and played the radio too loud and threw open the windows and walked naked about the house. And she stripped the sheets from their bed, every day she did, pulled them off with a flourish, like she was performing a trick in a show, and she washed them and dried them and put them back again, only the smell of him was missing from them then. And when the morning was still new, she climbed back into bed and she climbed easily into sleep, and then she really slept.

  2. Real…and painful. Some lovely phrases (soft as blown whispers) and the last paragraph is a dynamic ending (“Rage, rage against the dying of the light….”)

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