A cry in the dark

They're in the apartment together, she's folding clothes on the bed, he's watching her, his arms crossed over his chest. Her long hair spills over her face with every bend, fold, and tuck. Now she looks up at him, her eyes glistening. "We're done right?"

"What?"

She looks away, then looks at the laundry, neatly folded on their bed, which is too low because it has no frame to support it. They may as well be sleeping on the ground.

"I think we're through, you and I," she says.

He can't muster a coherent reply, so he groans. The groan is so loud he hears it somewhere else, somewhere outside of himself.

She watches him, her dark hair now pulled back in a ponytail. When had she done that? How long has he been groaning?

"It's going to rain, I think. It's going to rain, right?" She leaves him in the room before he can answer and he turns toward the door, the overhead light is bright but also dark, so dark. He picks up his phone. He's tried to forget what she just said about being done, over with, no longer a couple, married or otherwise, how unfathomable that sentiment even is!

He begins to look at his phone when the whole room, the whole house starts to shake and cough and make him lose balance. He falls on his butt, the world and the house trembling. He now knows there's a cyclone or a hurricane and a tornado all outside his house, their tiny apartment at the same time.

His groan is increasing, he can't see what's on his phone, the whole world is getting shaky, it's rumbling, and he has a sad revelation that they'll die together in this mess before he can say how much he loves her, regardless if she thinks they're done or not.

The quaking intensifies so much that everything goes dark.

Lyle rolls over in his bed, next to his wife whom he knows wouldn't leave him for anyone, nor he for anyone else. The world is still, silent, blessedly dark.

A bad dream. His groaning was like a cry in the dark.

He'll analyze this dream later.

Short StoriesScott Marmorstein