He feels the bed shift as she gets up; hears he bare feet padding across the floor in the darkness. The only light from the nightlight plugged in the hallway illuminating her movements. He closes his eyes seeing her in his minds eye. The familiar press of her hand against her chest, holding her breath like she holds in the pain, as tears fall.
He hears the front door close softly. She wears his hoodie because she can get lost in it and when she lifts the hood she feels completely hidden. Her breath puffs in the cool autumn night and she hears the crunch of dried leaves. She walks silently, avoiding streetlamps, letting the darkness envelope her trying to breath deep and slow but failing.
He sits on the edge of the bed, runs his hand through his hair, and stares out the window contemplating whether to wait or find her. He picks up his phone, the light illuminating his face in a soft blue, and asks Are you okay?
She pulls her phone from the pocket of his hoodie and stares at the screen, her thumb hovering over the keyboard, not wanting to lie but not wanting to tell him the truth. Go back to sleep, I’m almost home.
He reads her message; a response but not an answer.
Sitting on the front porch she watches the sky lighten as the sun rises.
She hears the alarm go off in the bedroom then silence a moment later. He rolls over feeling the empty space and cool sheets next to him. He gets up and makes coffee.
She looks up at the sound of the front door opening. He holds out a cup of hot coffee, the steam rising perfectly like in advertisements, and feels a brief touch as her fingers brush his.
“Did you sleep well?” She asks softly, putting her head on his shoulder when he sits next to her.
“Did you sleep at all?” He asks concerned.
She sips her coffee and he wipes her cheek with his thumb. The nightlight in the hall switches off as the sun rises higher.
2 thoughts on “Nightlight”