"When I woke up this morning
you were so far away from me
And I knew it was a warning
of an empty space in between
Feeling free when I'm with you
But knowing I'm not far away from home
Now what am I supposed to do,
when the answers all come out wrong
And I need something to help me sleep
When I know you're not good for me
And I need something I can keep
From the empty space in between
From the empty space in between"
It's hard to say how something so perfect could end up so shattered. I watch my wife, see the pain that she is in, the way that she suffers and I know that it is my fault. It's so easy to place the blame on someone else, so easy to point fingers at the people around me as I read the guilt within them, but the truth of the matter is that I just didn't have enough control.
I live the moment over and over in my head. A way to virtually punish myself for the crimes I have committed against my wife. I watch the paper slice through the delicate skin, watch the blood pool and then drip and watch as I launch myself across the room at my wife's best friend.
I can still feel the burn as if I am actually there.
It's been almost a month since we have heard from Edward, since he has checked in or called. I wonder what he would feel if he knew how much our family was falling apart without him, without her. The emotions get stronger each day; resentment, grief, loss, despair, longing.
It's after twilight and the stars are shining brightly in the sky when Alice and I decide to make our way back to the cabin we are currently occupying in Alaska. The night air is ripe with smells of salt, sea, and the slight musk of Caribou. I reach out to my wife, surprised to find resentment coming off of her in waves.
It's getting harder and harder for Alice not to look, no matter how much she tries. As much as I want her to be happy, I know how much this promise means to Edward and how much it will anger him if she breaks it. She knows my stand before she even speaks the words and I know that she is not pleased.
"She's my best friend, Jazz."
"Was your best friend," I reply softly. Immediately I cringe as I feel the anger ripple off of her. "Edward is your brother, Ali, and you promised him. You know how betrayed he will feel, how angry he will be."
A small huff escapes her lips and I watch as she takes off running, leaving a trail of snow in her wake. I follow behind her slowly, hoping to let her work off some of her steam without my calming effects. It doesn't seem to be working.
There was a time, not so long ago, when she would have relished in the comfort that I provided her, the calm that I could bring. Lately there has been a void, an empty space between the two of us that no amount of comfort can cross.
It has me worried.
Later that night I head to our room, unsurprised to find Alice sitting cross-legged in bed. I can feel the determination roll off of her as she plots in her mind. Her eyes glaze over and she becomes utterly still, then they shift to look at me.
"No matter how you approach it, my answer isn't going to change darling."
Her phone vibrates on the bed in front of her and she picks it up. For a moment I get a glimpse at the old Ali, the one that I fell in love with. Moments later her face falls and I am filled with a deep sense of regret and loneliness.
Edward has decided not to come home.
I don't need to imagine how hard this news is for her because I can feel the devastation that seeps from her pores. Not only did she loose her best friend but she also lost her brother. Just by the sound of Edward's voice I can tell that he isn't doing the greatest. As she hangs up the phone, I place my hand on her cheek and send all the love and affection I can her way.
"He's lasting longer than I thought he would," there is truth in her words, but also desperation. "I just need to give it more time; he will still change his mind and go back to her." I can feel the hope of the statement settle on the room and I watch my wife lay down and curl up on her side.
There are so many things we could be doing with our time, but for now this is what she needs. I curl up beside her, my hands on her hips. She wiggles them free, her hands fisting her pillow to her chest. It is impossible for us to cry, but as her back moves up and down I realize that this is her equivalent.
She is mourning.
Days pass and the distance between us only seems to be growing. I've taken to spending my nights in my office, sitting and listening to her steady breathing as she 'imitates' sleep. I need her to need me, but right now she needs to think. I can feel her resolve slipping each day, the thin barrier between what she thinks is right and what she wants is bending.
It's only a matter of time now.
I know better than to question her on it, but my guilt makes the words tumble from my mouth.
"What will you gain from this, it's only going to make things worse you know."
I can feel the pain in her chest; feel the utter ache of despair. She lets out a few small sobs, her eyes glistening but tearless.
"I love her Jazz."
It's with those words that I know that I have truly lost her. Edward begged us to leave, but he wouldn't have had to if I could have had better control. I can feel the crushing guilt eat away at my chest; I have caused my wife immeasurable pain and there is nothing I can do to fix it.
I lie in bed that night, wishing for something so utterly unattainable; sleep.
It's hard to feel everyone else's emotions, especially when they have been heightened to the level they have reached in the cabin. I'm tired of projecting things that I don't feel and I let my barrier drop, guilt and grief filling the household.
Alice finds me in bed a few minutes later and climbs in beside me. The white emptiness of the sheets between us provides a stark reminder of the spaces that have formed in our relationship. For the first time, in so long, I feel empty.
We lay looking at one another, everything passing between us unspoken. She wiggles closer, her hand touching my chest and my breath catches in my throat. There is sadness and grief, but also adoration and love. Her hand moves up my chest to cup my face and she closes her eyes sighing as the space between us shrinks.
There is comfort; there is hope, and a feeling of home.
I can hear my family moving about the house; each step, each breath, and each movement a reminder that we are all stuck in a limbo waiting for the next move.
Alice's eyes cloud over and a moment later she looks at me in utter awe.
"One time," I whisper aware that our family can hear us.
"One time," she agrees, her voice giving away the utter glee that she currently feels. I cherish the feeling for a moment, letting it soothe and settle my frayed and overworked body before wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her tightly to me. "After," she replies knowingly, her eyes alight with mirth.
"After," I muse, laughter bubbling from my lips. She fully closes the space between us, her lips meeting mine.
This idea came to me the other day and I just had to plug it out (to get it out of the constant loop in my head). Those of you patiently waiting for a Whispers update should have one soon! I'm just hashing out a few things with the chapter that are bugging me.