#0 The People Upstairs
"The thing that's disturbing is there's never any explanation as to what happened."
My eyes flutter open. Not that I can see anything in the dim pre-dawn grey light filtering in through the slats on the window shutters. I lay still in bed, the sound of my breathing not quiet. It is not the harsh panting that comes from panic, either. There are nights that I wake up out of a deep and terrible dream, scared a second time by the unfamiliar huff of my breath, the staccato of my heart.
Above my head the floor creaks. The people upstairs are home. It is their conversation I am hearing, one voice indistinct from the next.
"Why it happened."
Once, not long ago, I would have reached out to rub my hand down my husband's slim, muscled back. He liked to cocoon himself in layers of blankets. I'd wait until he was snoring and wiggle my hand under the blankets, sometimes under his side, until I touched warm flesh. Sometimes I wouldn't fall asleep for hours and hours. I'd spend all my time cataloging the sounds of my husband in his sleep.
"You're left with this feeling of wrongness, and no idea how to fix it."
Only my head rests on the pillows now. It is a large bed for just one person. Vast.
I reach across the bed on instinct, my fingers and palm looking to curl over my husband's warm shoulder. Just a touch to soothe myself. When my hand encounters nothing but air I start searching the bed, the blankets for him. I'm like an addict. When I realize that he's not here, no longer here, never again here, I start thinking that all I need is just one more touch. Just one to get me through the day, and through the rest of my life.