Snap Shot Story

5 Jul


We used to have a home here. It doesn’t look like it ever was a home, and it never looked like it could be before we made it one, but we did. Dawn crept up slowly upon the long belly of the desert and crawled into our bedroom. The light came biting through the thin curtains that I made out of an old white dress my mama once made for me. The light always nibbled on my toes and I would wake up smiling. Partly due to the light lickin’ on my toes and partly because I knew I was waking up next to him. Before the break of a new day broke his deep sleep, I would gaze at him with the same awe and amazement that I had when I first looked upon the natural phenomenon of fireflies lighting up a hot summer’s night. He was that burst of light in my life of darkness and that light never faded.

On mornings that I awoke to an empty bed I knew he had risen before the sun, saddled up, and rode out East, maybe West, maybe North, perhaps even South towards the river. I never asked any questions and he never asked me not to ask any. We had a silent agreement that he did whatever he needed to do in that life but our life out here, together, was separate. I liked it that way and he preferred it.

One time he rode in barely able to stay up on his horse and I half carried him in to the bedroom. The blood had soaked through his soiled shirt and when I lifted it up to look at the wound I couldn’t strike the terror from my face. He smiled with a twinkle in his eyes, and made a joke of how he got worse scratches from the girls on the schoolyard. I stitched him up and let him rest, but on the third day I arose to only the imprint of his head on the pillow next to me. I hid my fear after that, buried it deep beneath the dunes so not even the stars could see it ….but I knew it was there.

One day, he just didn’t come back. For years after I would sit out on the porch scanning the horizon, expecting him to ride in on his horse. In those first few moments of waking up and realizing he wasn’t next to me at dawn, I’d smile thinking I’d see him at dusk before I remembered.. I’d never see him again.

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