8.24.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Jack Goes Boating
Image from Jack Goes Boating

August 24, 2013: Sometimes it hit her.

One Reply to “8.24.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Once they slept in the same bed, so close there was no space between them, their arms and legs folded into one another, their bodies in tune and a rhythm to their breathing that was shared. Then, over time, a gradual loosening of their hold on one another, so slowly that it was not noticed, and that is always the way.

    Room in the bed between them one day, big enough for a child, and the child’s name was Lily. And one day the child was there and then she wasn’t. And the minister kept calling to check on how they were doing and they said prayers in the front room and they were Lily-prayers. And the minister took the husband’s hand and the wife’s, and he joined them together as he had done in church in front of everyone.

    But in their bed the empty space that separated them only widened, and he stopped reaching for her across the divide and she stopped wanting him to. And the years slipped through their grasp, like water poured into the cup of a child’s hands and it spills through her fingers. And one night he was sleeping in the other room and they never spoke about what he did and every night after that they slept apart.

    Some nights she woke in the dark, and she felt alone or lost, and she pressed her cheek up against the wall that was between them, and she listened to his even breath, and dream whispers maybe. On those nights she knew there was something missing and she wept in her own dreams. And when she woke her pillow was damp and her eyes were red and no one noticed.

    The words they spoke were shrunk to few or none. They moved past each other on the stairs and maybe it was like dancing to no music, or maybe it was something else. And he avoided her with his eyes, as if he was ashamed; and she did not see, for she had her own guilt to carry. Strangers they were to each other now and a wall between them was not enough.

    And so there came a day at last, when he did not return home and his bed was not slept in, and for three days and nights in a row it was so. And she slept soundly on those three nights and she moved about the house with a new lightness and on the third morning there was even a song in her mouth. And then it hit her, like sunlight when a cloud moves from in front of the sun.

    He came back only to pack a suitcase of his things. Just clothes and shoes, and his toothbrush and razor. He came creeping like a thief and he came when he knew she’d be out and so she did not notice at first. Then she did and it did not hurt or upset her balance or disturb her thoughts.

    There are rare times these days or nights when she’s asleep and her hand reaches into the dark and does not find what it is she is looking for. But she does not ever know, not when she wakes. Except that sometimes it hits her, and she stops what she’s doing and she stands still as stone and she stares into the distance, her ears sharp for the smallest sound and hearing nothing.

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