One Reply to “6.23.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. It’s been a long time and I don’t know if it’s been worth it. I don’t know if it could have been different, better maybe, with someone else. It’s just what it is.

    We sleep in different rooms these days and we tell each other it’s so we can sleep and not be disturbed by each other. I’m not sure it is just that. He moved out to the spare room and slowly, over the years, all his things have moved there, too – his clothes and his books and his comb and brush. His room smells of old milk and meat that has gone off. I say he should open the window more to let in air, but he says it’s his room and he likes it just fine the way it is.

    I go in to wake him most mornings. It’s a habit, like peeing when I wake, or sneezing, which I do most mornings. I take him a cup of tea, milk and one sugar, and just the way he likes it – ‘put the milk in first otherwise it tastes bitter’. I stand at the open door listening for the rattle in his breath that tells me he is still alive. Then I set the tea down on his bedside table. He doesn’t stir.

    I climb onto the bed beside him and I look at him, my face close to his, close enough we could kiss. His breath smells thick and bad, but I remain like that, looking at him, looking for the boy in him that I married. His skin is grey and loose and his hair has thinned to almost nothing, like smoke when it rises. I say his name, saying it small, not wanting him to wake just yet.

    I don’t kiss him, not these days. I don’t hardly know him and yet, at the same time, I know what to expect from him and can read his moods in the sound of his coughing or his singing – when there is a song. And I think I know everything there is to know about him, know him better than he knows himself sometimes.

    Been together now for forty and some years – but who’s counting – and that’s got to mean something. My sister says it is a love story writ in the stars and I don’t set her right on that. It is what it is and it hash;t got much to do with love these days; we just get through the time together and the time apart, neither of us thinking about what it will be without the other one day.

    ‘I love you once, I love you twice, I love you more than beans and rice.’ That’s what he said to me when we were new to each other, way back. Now I think he’d take the beans and rice over me, and I’d be ok with that.

    ‘Tea’s getting cold,’ I tell him and he opens his eyes and I look a little harder, cos maybe the boy’s in there, in his eyes. He takes a moment to focus and I can see he’s not at first sure where he is or who I am. We are close enough we could kiss, and we usde to once, but we don’t now, and I don’t see anything of the boy that he once was in his eyes.

    ‘Tea’s getting cold,’ I say again, a little louder this time so he hears. Then I get off the bed and go through to the kitchen. Outside the sky is bright enough and the birds are singing over each other in a cacophony of pips and whistles. I stand by the open window, breathing in clean air, and I drink my tea alone, and I listen for the sound of him rising, listening for what sort of day it is going to be.

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