Cover of nightBy Wade Kwon
She lies there awake, staring at nothing but the dark shadows around the bedroom. His gentle snoring fails to lull her back to sleep.
An emotional whirlwind blows through her heavy heart. Tomorrowâ€™s the day. No, itâ€™s today already. Todayâ€™s the day.
Sheâ€™ll leave, and thatâ€™ll be it. No looking back.
Itâ€™s not like she all of a sudden decided he wasnâ€™t it. That she wasnâ€™t happy. This has been building for months.
And itâ€™s not like she didnâ€™t try to talk to him about it. The big jerk. Why didnâ€™t he listen? Why didnâ€™t he pay attention?
Still, she feels conflicted. Why is she putting herself through this again? They had a good run: 12 months. It isnâ€™t going to work out. Be done with it already.
Outside the window, lifeless branches tremble in the night. Dawn is hours away. The room is cool despite the warm early spring weather.
He must know whatâ€™s coming. How could he not? Theyâ€™ve been growing apart for weeks, ever since the fight. She wants one thing, 10 things. He wants â€¦ itâ€™s hard to say. But she should know, right? She should know by now.
He lies unmoving, unmoved. Dead asleep.
She could stay with him. One more try and all that. Itâ€™s not like he ever lied to her or mistreated her.
Is that enough? Would it ever be enough?
No, this is for his good, too. Heâ€™ll be better off. He needs someone more â€¦ more â€¦ more not like her.
God, why is this so difficult?
Tap. Tap. Tap tap. Tap.
The sound startles her. It sounds like itâ€™s coming from above. Are the squirrels running wild at 3 a.m.?
Tap taptap tap tap taptaptap tap.
The pelting speeds up, grows louder. She gently slips from the under the covers and lightly skims the wooden floor to the window. Pulling aside the right curtain, she looks across the yard to the street, lit by a single lamp.
Hail. Itâ€™s just hail, no bigger than marbles. In an hour, it will melt and no one will have seen it but her.
The ice chunks bounce off the sidewalk and litter the grass. The neighborâ€™s front steps are white, covered in a frozen layer of pellets. Before bedtime, the sky had been clear. Now itâ€™s raining ice and soon, water.
No longer curious, she returns to bed, her spot still warm. Half-awake, he stirs, moving over to spoon her.
The hail storm is moving away. The tapping slows, then stops, as suddenly as it began. A light shower mists the now-quiet surroundings.
She will miss him. His warm body on long cool nights. His rough voice and his crooked smile. His comforting presence when lightning rattles the walls or hail pelts the roof.
In the morning, she will tell him itâ€™s over.
And the ground will be bare once more.