I’m still in bed when Manny comes home. The day had crawled by slowly and quietly, with only my thoughts for company, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of the world outside. He moves around our bedroom quietly, shedding his clothes as he leaves behind his working day.
“Hey”, he says. I don’t answer, though I know he knows I’m awake. He carries on talking, telling me about his day like I haven’t just ignored him. The train was late again and packed as usual, then had the nerve to be held at a red signal at Clapham Junction. Maybe tomorrow he’d cycle in. Yeah right. Donna and Matt had invited us to dinner at theirs this week, if we – I – was up to it. His sister had called and said hello. Oh, and his mother wanted to come by with the ladies from her church to pray for us. ‘Time heals all wounds’, I remembered she had said to me, ‘this too will heal’. I’d looked at Manny then, seeing the pain I felt reflected in his eyes. I wanted to believe her.
He leaves the room and soon I hear the sounds of him taking a shower. Tears prick my eyes but refuse to fall. It’s like they’re frozen in place much like I feel right now. Unable to move forward, unable to move at all. It wasn’t always like this, I wasn’t always like this. There was a time when we’d both come home from work, laughing together, teasing and loving on each other with an intensity that excited and terrified me in equal measure. I would match his stories about his day, with tales of my own. We would make plans and share dreams. But that was before our hearts were broken and our world fell to pieces.
I feel the mattress dip, and the cool air as he lifts the bed covers, sliding in beside me. He tucks me against his long lean body, wraps his arms around my waist. He smells like the rain.
“Baby, how was your day?” I still don’t answer.
“Yeah…me too,” he says.
The full-length version of this story is published at Litro Magazine