Dark Is Better

Daniel stood in the doorway to Jack's bedroom, but did not enter. Jack turned to face his friend's dark silhouette, lit from somewhere behind.

"No lights," Jack grumbled before turning back to face the wall. A moment later the light went out. Jack's eyes were again met with inky darkness.

"Jack?" Daniel asked. Jack could hear that Daniel was closer now, but how close he could not tell. Dark is better, Jack thought. Dark is easier. He knew his friend could see his face no better, but he still felt compelled to wipe the tears away. Weakness.

"How did you get in here?" Jack was glad when his voice did not betray him.

"Key in the grill. You told me about it once," Daniel answered before pausing, as if at a loss for what to say next. Rare for Daniel. He began speaking again few moments later.

"I just wanted to say I'm sorry," When Jack did not respond, Daniel continued to speak. "Jack, I know-"

"Leave," Jack said quietly, but firmly.

"Let me help-"

"Get out!" Jack yelled. When he didn't hear Daniel leave, he turned in the direction of Daniel's voice." Don't make me get up!"

"If it would make you feel better to hit me, then fine," Daniel answered.

Jack sighed and closed his eyes. He wished Daniel would leave, but he doubted he would. Jack knew he wasn't angry with Daniel. He knew he was only trying to help.

"I'll be in the living room," Daniel said. Jack heard the wood floor boards creak under Daniel's feet as he made his way out of Jack's bedroom, shutting the door behind him. Alone, Jack stood and looked out his window at the dark, empty street. He knew Daniel was probably the best one to talk to. Best one to know what he was going through. Daniel's wife was dead. Now Jack's wife was dead. Well, ex-wife.

"Ex-wife," Jack whispered the word outloud. There was a whole extra set of baggage with that. Failed marriage. Dead son. The what-ifs and could-have-beens. Car accident, they said. She died instantly, they said. Jack didn't know if that was better or not. Did she know she was going to die? Did her life pass before her eyes? Did she think of him?

Hours later, or maybe it was only minutes later, Jack padded out to the living room. He smiled faintly. The house was completely dark. Daniel hadn't turned any lights on. Jack sat down in his favorite armchair. It was the only thing he had wanted from their house when he moved out.

"Hey," Daniel said.

"Hey," Jack answered. He was ready now.