Day 9: Of the Future

When she awoke, lying in their shared bed, she felt that no time had passed. That time had somehow stilled, or slowed to . Or perhaps only her perception had changed. Nevertheless, she imagined that all that had transpired was that she'd lain down and had but closed her eyes for a moment, an extended blink.

Searching for certainty, she groped for the clock on the sideboard and turned the malevolent red face to her, read 4:54. Measuring the hours before she would have to go to work against the probability of her return to sleep, she dismissed sleep.

Clear eyed, she sat up in bed, taking in the unfamiliar quiet of the room by moonlight. The soft, calm light of the fading moon filtering through the curtain sheers softened the clean lines of the furniture that she'd chosen with such care at the beginning of their marriage. In the transparent blue tinged light, the restrained, tasteful furniture gave off an air of quiet resignation. She imagined that the room had always had this quality, even when the house had been featured in the National magazine and he'd been inordinately proud of her refinement and that this was the first time she'd be made aware of this.

Startled by the realisation the curtains, shifted by the breeze, let in the full glow of the moonlight. Illuminated, walls of the room seemed to shift out and fall away from her and merge with the light and she wondered if she was awake, or dreaming, or dreaming of wakefulness.

Struggling, she turned to him and watched the slow rise and fall of his breathing under the sheets. The low hum of his snoring and the even rise and fall of his chest competed with the silent airlessness of the air-conditioner. There was the roundness of his plump, boyish cheeks, even now slightly greasy, that in profile made him look more like a youth of 20 than a man near 40. She thought of the slack roundness above his belly that had appeared in recent years, and the mole on his shoulder. Of the ridged, vertical scars on the inside of both his knees, once angry red, now welts.

She spoke, quietly, firmly: My husband has become a good man and a good father. But I do not love him and I never have.

Satisfied, she turned to sleep. She would take care of things in the morning.


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