She seems determined to stay locked inside herself; away from any support I could try and offer. I want her to turn and face me, instead of staring at her hands, the wedding band I'm so afraid she'd going to take off and give back to me. Instead she remains, slender to the point of breakage, blonde hair splayed across the pillow, refusing to acknowledge me. Have we really come to this? Inside, I feel like I'm screaming to her to stop digging at the chasm that's opening between us, face me so we can work on building a bridge back across. Can you hear me when I shout your name? I used to think we were two halves of a whole. There's no way we could have overcome the challenges we had to get through; her father, my mother, without being so faithlessly a part of one another. Instead, now, it has taken only suspicion, only doubt unspoken between us to teasingly begin ripping us apart. I wonder what to do about it, wonder whether denying anything is happening between Rebecca and I will continue to work, even if it has truth on its side. She lets out a sigh that is almost inaudible. I wonder what she is thinking, as I watch the hair, try to count every strand. It feels like it might rain outside. The air smells like ozone, and the sky is uncharacteristically darkening with clouds, covering the pinpoint lights the stars threw. She sighs again, curls her legs up to hug at her chest. My hand reaches out, hovers at her back, willing itself to rest. I pull away before contact, knowing I couldn't stand the sting of rejection. She reaches out an arm, and I notice how slender it is. I haven't seen her eat lately, have been assuming she's been eating at work, but now wonder whether she has been coming home hungry, able to ignore the gnawing hunger because her mind is focused on other things. Her light switches off and the room is plunged into semi darkness. Clouds half obscure the moon, creating patterns of shadow and hazy light across the walls. I roll onto my back to watch the patterns across the ceiling. Too soon, clouds completely cover the moon and I am left, straining to see in the dark, listening to both of us breathing at different times. She has not moved, has not shifted herself to a more comfortable position before sleep as she usually does. Generally, it's back against me so we are spooned together, my arm wrapped around her. Even if we didn't go to sleep that way, we usually woke up in that position. Lately, though, she's been sleeping as far onto her side of the bed as she can get, always facing away from me. It's been like sleeping with a stranger. I roll away from her, facing into the darkness of the wardrobe. Her breathing slows, deepens, evens out. She sleeps, still wrapped around herself, staying well over her side. Before sleep claims me as its next victim, I move myself so that our backs are touching. She stays silent, still slumbering. At least, claimed by sleep, some touching is allowed.

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Short and sweet. Set sometime around the Rebecca incident- pre Rainy Day Women. Possibly that night before, but as always, I'm pretty fluid with dates! This is written in response to a challenge presented by welcometotheoc that was basing a story around, or including the line Can you hear me when I shout out your name.