Disclaimer: Not mine at all.


She's not used to the quiet; the hum of the refrigerator being the only background noise unnerves her. She wants a roomful of people to greet and make happy with drinks and smiles and canapés that she's spent the afternoon preparing. She wants the sound of a child's laughter to ring through her house, not float in through open windows from across the street: somebody else's child. She wants someone to talk to; someone who promised to be there, and stuck by that vow. She doesn't like the quiet. Some people enjoy it, she knows that. They like time to reflect, to relax on their own. And yes, sometimes there are times she enjoys it. She's not going to pretend she's never wanted to sink into a bubble bath with a glass of wine and revel in the silence, she's not going to pretend there aren't times she goes for long walks on her own just to clear her head. But night after night, sitting in an empty room in an empty house is too much for her.

She wonders, briefly, where he is. If he's somewhere quiet, if he's missing her, missing her company. She rejects this thought almost as soon as it filters through her mind – he has other things to occupy him now. Her, for one thing. And the drugs, of course. That's the problem with marrying an addict; no matter what you do, you'll always be second choice.

She told Cal she couldn't imagine living alone, and it was true. She wants to rise to the challenge, wants to learn about herself, about how she's going to function as a single woman, but it's not easy. She shops for two without even thinking, and constantly heats up leftovers because she's cooked too much. She turns the key in the lock and has to refrain from calling out "I'm home", because she knows there is no one there to answer her. She hurries in the shower in the mornings before she remembers there is no one else waiting to use it. She's trying to adjust, but it's taking time.

She wants to enjoy the peace and quiet – sitting here now, a glass of wine in her hand and her feet curled up under her on the couch, she wants to be able to enjoy it. She can watch whatever she wants on the TV without argument; she can read as late as she wants at night without worrying about the bedside light disturbing her sleeping partner; she can cook the foods he hates without having to prepare two meals.

It doesn't quite seem enough, though.

And even though she wants to sit quietly and just enjoy the stillness, she can't. She wants to do something, wants to talk to someone, wants to have a task – anything, really, just to occupy her mind. The silence is mocking her, and she hates it. Her eyes fall on her keys, carefully placed on the table. She could go to a bar, flirt with a stranger, maybe take things a little further than she dares. She could call a girlfriend and see if she wants to go out for drinks. She could call Cal; see if he wants to come over, if she can go over there, if they can just talk – about work, about Emily, about a million things that have nothing to do with Alec or divorce or the fact that she is so, so alone.

But she doesn't pick up her keys, and she doesn't reach for the phone. She knows that she can't spend every night avoiding being alone; she has to face the future that lies before her, however long it's going to last. She hopes it won't be forever, but there are no guarantees. She hates being alone, but things can change. One thing she knows: she's not going to let this beat her.