|Repose Remembers (reposeremembers) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-04-12 17:04:00
|Entry tags:||hugh christian, marta flores, ~plot: memories|
Will characters be viewing the memory or experiencing it?: Experiencing
Warning, this memory contains: Sads.
You wake up like a sledgehammer to the skull, and you can’t be sure if it’s because the baby is crying or that her side of the bed is still cold.
It’s a stupid, naive idea. Stupid that you expected to wake up and that she’d be there, pitch-dark hair poured over the pillowcase and sheets braided around her legs. And the fact that your hands hunted her warmth of their own accord while you slept, yanking you out of a dream when they came up lacking, it makes you angry. Flares you with heat. The anger muddies your vision in the dawn’s light streaming in through the window, past the blinds that you didn’t close last night. You can just make out the broken-toothed shape of drawers that you didn’t bother to straighten up, that still hang open with their contents haphazardly strewn all over. Shirts dangling towards the floor like flopping, unconscious tongues. A pair of jeans kicked halfway into the open closet doors. And even though the light can’t quite reach past the sliding track of those doors where her side of the walk-in still hangs open, you imagine that you can still see exactly where her suitcase used to live before you came home and found that it had disappeared right along with half her clothes.
You could bluff yourself, act like the suitcase was the clue that’d tipped you off, the one that convinced you that she’d really left for good rather than just forgetting to tell you that she was going to visit a friend for the night. Not that she ever talked about friends. You aren’t even sure if she has any. Both of you, your whole world had tapered down to shifts waking up with the baby for night feedings, to harried meals out of takeout containers and trips to the park just to get out of the house. Falling into bed exhausted and sleeping so hard that the pillowcases crease your cheek and you often wake with an arm gone numb where it’s been shoved between the mattress and the hollow of her neck just so that you can hold her, because it’s the only time she’ll tolerate you getting close.
You could pretend, but what’s the point? You’d felt it coming like a tempest. She’d wanted to leave. You’d begged her to stay and promised that it could work, and so she’d stayed but it wasn’t for herself, or for the baby. It was for you. Because she’d caught a glimpse of you, fractured. Seen the lines along which you’d break. She’d felt sorry for you and she’d stayed even when she didn’t know if she wanted you anymore, didn’t want the life that you’d manufactured. Playing house. Playing Mommy and Daddy with the jackass who’d knocked her up.
"Because I’m pregnant, asshole! Okay?"
You feel like the walking dead, like an apparition going through the motions of a former life as you pull on the same clothes that you wore yesterday. It feels right, the residue of old sweat close to your skin. No socks. The bottom of your feet still dark with grime because you ran out of the house without shoes, flying along the perimeter of the property like you were expecting to find her trying to climb the fence instead of just walking out the front gate to the road. By the time you’d staggered back to the house with shards of gravel dug into your heel, limping, eyes red-rimmed, the rest of your men had filed into the house to await your instructions. Probably expecting you to bark orders, sliding glances of surprise and confusion at one another down the line when you sank onto the floor with your back against the couch and muttered that you didn’t care where they looked, who they had to bribe or what they had to spend, just find her.
None of them had come back. Knew, probably, that they shouldn’t return without some kind of answer unless they had a death wish. One of them had stayed behind, posted up in the kitchen with his weapon unholstered because you’d insisted that the doors remain unlocked overnight. She’d had her own keys, obviously, but she’d left them sitting on her pillow and it felt like a middle finger in your fucking face. Left little room to tell yourself that she might still change her mind, but the house was unlocked all the same.
But she hasn’t come back, and the baby’s still crying as you pad down the hallway to the nursery. Tiny fists flailing in the air, cheeks flaming red while she screams at an impressive volume and pitch, and as you pick her up you realize that you’ve always been the first one down the hall when she cries so hard that you sometimes worry she’s not getting enough oxygen. Looking back now, you can put the pieces together, and was it stupidity or just denial that kept you from seeing it before? The rocking chair in the corner of the room is brand new, doesn’t creak as you sit down and arrange her carefully against your chest, lying on her stomach, cheek squished against your dirty t-shirt so that her lips part in a fat, wet ‘o’ shape. Your hand spans the entire width of her back and you make soft shh-hh noises with your eyes closed, head tipped back against the chair, but they’re fragmented as the breath catches in your throat on the way up.
She screams and screams but when she finally quiets, soothed, your ears are ringing in the silence and you miss the sound because it covered up the animal noise keening out of your throat so that you could pretend it isn’t real a little longer. Instead she’s gurgling now, minutes from sleep. It won’t last long. She’s due for a feeding in less than an hour, and she’s not the best sleeper yet. But for now it’s like she knows that you need the solid weight of her against your chest, holding the fissured edges together. She doesn’t mind the plop of swollen tears against your shirt, dripping off your chin, clumping your lashes. A week from now, your eyes will feel scrubbed down by sandpaper, tear ducts desiccated. Nothing spills over when you decide that it’s time to start checking the hospitals and morgues, it’s just ticking down the list like clockwork hands spun loose on their springs. A month from now, your contacts in the Capital’s PD will have run down their last lead to a dead end, and you’ll be a bone-weary husk of a man who doesn’t have space left for the tears, but for now, you hold the only person you have left in the world and you let them come.