“Do you have to leave?” There was a stir by the sprinkle of dawn, but not much of an answer so the question was repeated in urgency for this discussion had already been deferred too many times. “Are you going back?”
The silence was an affirmative, and it stung.
“Did you even bother to ask me before all this?” Did you care how I would’ve felt?
Finally, the rule of three summoned a response, but no satisfaction, “You know that I have to go back.” The vagueness equalled irresponsibility, and all was too much: the gaze seeking understanding met the turned back of a figure framed by sheer sheets and anguish. The heart that pardons was as broke as a college student. “It’s just an act…you should know that…we’ve both been in this work long enough.”
Perhaps too long. Too long that love should sprout despite the things done for a blind cause and cash; the murder, the pretense, the deception of lives led and laid to earth. The rose bloomed indifferent to the sludge of decay about it, a partnership for crime-turned-romance frowned upon by mankind. Perhaps this cruel mission is but a deserved retribution.
“Yes, yes I’m just being childish…never mind that I asked and do what you need to do.”
“…Please, you know that I can’t do otherwise…I just need another month–”
“–The same was said a month ago. But yes, you are right: leave and let me be.”
The soft, gentle whisper of the name accompanied an attempt to reach through the thorns of sarcasm to mend the hurts done by that same hand; the attempt was valiant and nearly melted the hard shell of bitter jealousy, but in the end failed as the hand was swatted away in a teary passion.
“Don’t. Touch. Me.” The declaration surprised both, and choked the speaker. “Please…I don’t think I can stand it anymore…please…just leave.”
The request was not the simple removal of one from a shared bed, but from a years-long path walked hand-in-hand to a haven that turned out, did not exist. To will the compliance of such a request took monumental hesitation that yielded failure and a realization, “…I can’t…”
“Don’t you ‘have to’?”
Silence prevailed over any unspoken confessions while scrunched sheets soaked up sobs and tears though let the escape of one last repetition.
“Please…just leave…if you ever known or loved me.”
Pin-drop silence continued its dictatorship over the tortured inhabitants of the room for an age when finally a weight shifted to elicit a slight creak from the mattress followed by the shuffle of clothes and the low moan of the door’s hinges.
Silenced barred the door shut between the lovers and asserted its eternal dominion over the broken ones.