She stirred in her sleep as she felt him lay next to her. His scent filled her nostrils, a mix of sweat and his favourite cologne. She could see the outline of his body in the dark, his features as familiar to her as her own. Everything about him was comforting in it’s familiarity, it was what she knew, what made her feel safe.
“I didn’t think you were coming to bed,” she whispered into the dark. The memory of the last words they spoke to each other still ringing in her head. “I can never stay mad at you, you know that,” he whispered back. She could feel him rolling over, getting more comfortable.
She reached out to touch him, but felt herself holding back, still unsure of his real feelings. There was tension in the air but she wasn’t sure if it was of her own creation. She turned on her side, facing him. His brow was furrowed and he was staring at the ceiling, obviously caught deep in thought. He looked so caught in his own head that she loathed to disturb him but she wanted to know his thoughts, desired to get inside him.
“I missed you at dinner tonight,” she said tentatively, hoping that he wouldn’t be upset with her for interrupting his daydream. He turned his head towards her and smiled. There was pain in his eyes that she hadn’t noticed before. She reached out to caress his face but he put his hand up to stop her. He continued to stare at her, she was confused and didn’t know what to do next.
“We need to talk,” he said with a sigh. She searched her brain, unsure what he could mean. They had, had arguments before and come out unscathed. The last one was hardly anything ground breaking. It was over money, it was always over money. They had yelled ugly words and he’d stormed out of the room. She’d fallen apart when she heard the front door slam. Her facade was unbreakable in front of him, crumbling when she realised what her stubborn behaviour had done once again.
Her mind had run away with her again and she realised that he was staring at her. There was pain and concern etched across his face. He looked older too, she wasn’t sure when that had happened but there was lines creasing his face where she knew his laugh lines lay.
He looked into her eyes, she could feel him searching her mind, trying to read her thoughts. She met his eyes, trying to work out what was wrong. “You aren’t going to like what I am going to tell you,” he said seriously, the smile gone from his face. He put a note on the bed between them, the space between them suddenly seemed to open up, feeling like an eternity.
She opened the note, the words swimming in front of her face, tears welling up in her eyes. She already knew what was going to be written on the note, she had seen it a 100 times in the last year. “You need to let go,” he said gently. She could sense that he didn’t want to push her but it felt like her heart was breaking apart.
She slowly nodded, trying to gather her thoughts, wanting to say something. Nothing she thought of could possibly be enough. She reached out to touch him, but he was gone. All that was left was the lingering scent of him, a scent that she had committed to her memory. She unfolded the note, it was an obituary notice. Written in bold letters was the name of her husband, the man she had shared a bed with for 20 years. The man who had visited her bed and told her gently it was time to let go. The man whose scent she was afraid to lose, who visited her every night in her dreams.
She knew he wouldn’t be there the next night, she knew that he was gone but she had refused to believe it. She recreated him in head, refusing to believing that he was never coming back to her. Her heart ached for just one more touch.
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