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I Dread Waking Him

I dread having to wake him. He looks like something you would read about. In a different world of course; a world that isn’t racked by horrors and living nightmares. He looks peaceful and it’s one of the few times I can see his face clear of worry and fear. Fear for us. His facial features are noticeably kinder when he sleeps; unhampered by life’s cares. The lines around his mouth have vanished and his closed eyes hint at a softness that isn’t normally there. It feels almost criminal to bring him back to the harshness that surrounds us like a suffocating blanket, but I have no choice. We have to keep moving. In this moment I feel like I’m living in the story of someone else.

This is something you should read about and enjoy from the comfort of your own bed. It shouldn’t be my reality. And yet it is. I bend down and give his shoulder a slight shake then spring back, anticipating his reaction. His eyes snap open and all of life’s cruelties flood his face as in one swift flood. He sweeps his knife up and goes into a crouch. As soon as he realizes it’s me, the rage drains from him and his muscles relax, but only slightly. His eyes are cold and nothing hints at the light that sometimes flickers in them when he finds it in himself to smile. He nods, acknowledging my presence, and without a word, we continue on our silent journey.





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