Just a short short from Jane's perspective. I don't own them, of course.

Suburban Lights

Jane sat on the wide stoop of his porch and looked out thoughtfully over the neighborhood street. It was almost twilight. Any minute now the tall lights lining the curbsides would be blinking on their yellow lamps, fending off the impeding darkness with promises of eternal light. For the moment the sky was shyly pink and splendid, the rosy colored clouds trailing lazily after the setting sun. A cool breeze sailed through the neighborhood, ruffling young budding flowers and playing about his face and neck.

What a glorious time to be alive.

Jane smiled and looked down at the thin golden band between his thumb and index finger. He rolled it absently, enjoying the play of scarlet light upon it that made it glow like silver. He had come here to think—or rather, to remember. An hour earlier he had been rummaging around in the kitchen for a spoon, absentmindedly recalling a spirited argument he had had with his wife regarding the proper place of silverware in the dishwasher, when it suddenly hit him that he couldn't remember the sound of her voice. The realization stopped him in his tracks, the hand that was reaching toward the wooden handle of a cabinet freezing midway on its journey, like some small animal caught in the blinding beams of an oncoming vehicle.

He stood like that for awhile, perfectly still, with only the soft mindless droning of the television from the other room and the rapid, panicked beats of his heart indicating any passage of time. His fingers tingled, his entire body numb. Then in a sweeping torrent of relief that was as exhilarating as it was painful, he remembered again her voice as it curved around the doorframe of a child's room, reading to their daughter a story about ants and straw houses.

So he went outside.

It had been five years since his wife and daughter died. Five years of healing, of changing, of learning, of living. If people had asked him five years ago what he would do if he lost his wife and child, he would have told them that he would probably die as well. But it was far from the truth. He had gone on living, walking through the fields of sorrows and joys that was part of day-to-day life. And at the same time, unbeknownst to him, the vividness of their memories had faded in his mind. It was impossible to hold the two ideas together in his thoughts without driving him crazy. One was bitter, the other sweet.

Time heals all wounds. It was true. Time smoothed the jagged edge on the rock of unbearable loss. But what about loss of the other kind—loss from memory, loss from the mind? It was as if he were losing them a second time, noted Jane, except this time he could only resign himself to a quieter defeat.

Jane looked down at his wedding ring again. It glimmered reassuringly in the dimming light.

"Not yet," he whispered softly, urgently, to himself. Jane slid the ring back onto his finger.

He still had something to do, something to finish. Didn't he? It didn't escape him that the only bond with his family he knew was in no danger of fading away was established through a serial killer. The idea tugged at him with guilt, but it also fueled this relentless drive with frustration. His thumb traced the curve of the metal again and again. It was so complicated and confusing.

Jane rose from the steps and closed the door of the house behind him as the yellow lights from the streetlamps flicked on. He stood in the kitchen, the tips of his fingers of his left hand resting calmly on the granite island counter. The TV was still buzzing quietly in the next room. Jane looked at the jar of peanut butter sitting at the center of the island, red lid lying beside it. One day, he knew, he would have to make a choice, and he felt that the day would be coming soon.