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A Missing Piece of Home

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Home isn’t what it used to be. Since you left, the colors just don’t pop like they used to. It’s too quiet when your laugh doesn’t ring through these halls. Sure, Riley puts some movement back into the stillness, but he’s just a cat. A cat can’t laugh with me or cry with me like you used to.

I roll over in bed, restless because of the silence. I used to love the silence, but that was when I felt your heartbeat under my ear. Now there’s nothing but stillness. Even Riley has settled into the house and its silence. It worked out for the first few weeks, when he was still curious and constantly knocking things over and getting into things. Now it’s all routine; wake up, find him at my feet, he wakes up and meows just once for food and attention. That’s pretty much all the affection I get from the little creature. I guess I'm not as lovable as you say.

I rest my head on my arm, outstretched in a desperate attempt to fill the space you once took up in the bed. I look at the pictures of us on the nightstand, and finally get the courage to close my eyes. My mind stops racing, but the change in the speed of my thoughts doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking about you. That’s the funny thing; since you left you haven’t left my mind once. Even when I’m working or trying to pay the bills, you’re always there in the back of my mind, saying one of those sweet things you used to say.

It feels as though I’m on the verge of sleep when I feel it. Strong, gentle arms wrap around me in such a way that it has to be you. I know this feeling. No one else can release butterflies in my stomach and make me feel as though I'm floating. Your lips brush my cheek, then move to my jaw.

“I love you,” You whisper the words directly into my ear so that they can go nowhere but my heart. I can feel the tears spring to my eyes, and I turn just enough to see the shape of you in the pale moonlight, blurred by the tears.

I try to blink the moisture from my eyes so that they can really drink you in, but for some reason the tears won't go away. Instead, I make do with the miracle I've already been handed, even with its imperfections, and whisper back, “I love you too. So much.”

You hold me tighter in the arms I love so much, but it only takes seconds for your grip to soften until it feels as though you're disintegrating around me. I turn and try to see what’s wrong, but there is nothing. With a painful twist in my gut I realize that it was only a dream that I've awoken from.

The tears, no longer a part of the dream, spill over my lashes as I roll over again. I stare out the window. It’s a full moon tonight; the same as it was the night you had to go. I can see everything in the quiet little neighborhood that we fell in love with together. The world seems too big without you. Six billion people, and it feels so empty when one of them is so far away…

I roll over again, let out a soft sob, and whisper the same words I've been thinking all along. They escape my lips like a prayer: “Baby, I miss you. Please come home…”



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