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Jack and Broken Glass
It was midnight. No, it was later than that. She had been there at midnight and he was alone now. He squinted into the burning red digits of the alarm clock. Was that a two or a five?
There it was again, the clicking at the door. He rubbed his eyes and bolted upright. It was strange how he didn’t remember falling asleep. He remembered the screaming, the suitcase, and then the slamming of the door. He remembered the burn of the Jack that washed down the sting of harsh words and broken glass. Ignoring the airy throbbing and regret of a hangover he stumbled to the door.
He wished there was more time. He wished he had the time to shower, maybe to shave, at least to brush his teeth. She should never have to see him like this. He wished that he could make time go backwards. He wished he had kissed her and sealed in all of the swearing that he never really meant.
But there was no time.
Still dressed in his oxford, he had fallen asleep. It was disheveled now. The arms wrinkled from being raised, the tail loose, and the buttons undone. The blue tie still clung loosely aroung his neck. With the last second, he tightened the silk, letting the smooth fabric slide through his fingers.
The door opened and there she was.
“Oh,” her eyes fell, “I didn’t expect you to be awake.”
He ran a hand through his hair, unable to face her.
She closed the door and stepped further into the apartment. When she passed him, he could make out the sweet scent of her hair.
“You’ve been drinking,” was all she said as she leaned against the wall. She finally met his gaze and he could not move his eyes away.
“And you’ve been crying.” He walked towards her. His right hand rose to her cheek, not touching her skin but still able to see the heat. Her eyes closed as he used the side of his thumb to try to wipe off the smeared make-up. It was like a wound, he thought, inflicted by him. Now, she was bleeding.
“You left,” He couldn’t bring himself to say anymore. He was afraid of starting another fire. The sparks of their words had faded to smoldering embers, but they were still warm.
“I did,” she said back to him. There was no denying what had passed just hours ago.
“You’re back,” he almost didn’t believe it. He wouldn’t have blamed her if she never came back to him.
“I am,” she walked to the refrigerator and grabbed ice from the tray. She poured the cubes into a glass, filled it from the tap and handed it to him. Suddenly, he was aware of his parched throat and took a deep drink.
“I’m sorry,” he set down the glass. After a long struggle he got the words out. It was so easy.
“No,” she told him. “Don’t be. I walked the city,” she told him, “just walked. For hours,” She looked up at him, “I realized something…in the streets and the light and all of the faces. I realized that the city is full of broken hearts,” her arms wrapped around his waist and she cried softly into his chest, “but I was already walking home.”