Note: I wrote this in one go, without a clear idea where it might take me. It may be a little messy right now so I'd really appreciate feedback on what works and what I should clarify.

One Golden Morning

I wake in the morning to an empty bed. The world is bright, my sheets are warm; it almost doesn't bother me at first. I lay there a moment or two, trying to recapture the last motes of whatever dreams crossed my mind last night.

But the emptiness grows on my consciousness, an itch between my shoulder blades where his breath used to be.

Tossing the sheets back, I roll out of bed and stretch, taking in the morning. The world is beautiful outside my window, the house is cozy as a bath; it'd be perfect if it weren't for this one defect. I search the house for him, hearing only slight scuff of my socks on the carpet and the birds outside, welcoming the morning.

I stop in the kitchen because I'm taken aback by the glorious sunlight streaming in through the windows. It pools on the table and I resist the urge to trail my fingers across the wood as I would on the sea; it's a silly fantasy.

It seems strange that he's not here.

The screen door falls away from me as I make my way into the backyard. Even the early morning concrete feels warm under my stockinged feet as I follow the sidewalk to his work shed. The sliding door rumbles merrily open and golden light rushes in to fill the space; but it still feels empty to me.

I lean against the shed door and close my eyes, simply basking in this nearly perfect morning. For a moment I thought it could still be perfect, even without him there, without his warm breath when I woke, or his loud footsteps in the kitchen, or his faint whistling in the shed.

But the lie chills me. All around, the world is still warm and bright; I'm the only one who has changed. Suddenly I don't want to be in this morning, not without him. It just feels wrong.

The shed door rattles loudly as I slide it shut. The concrete snags my socks as I spin on my heel and stomp back inside. The screen door slam echoes in the too-quiet kitchen as I march through into the hallways and back into my bedroom.

Sunlight still steams through the window, beckoning to me to enjoy the day. I close the blinds and crawl back into bed, throwing the covers over my head for good measure.

In the darkness, all I can feel is the emptiness. It's magnified tenfold, throbbing in my chest with the ferocity of a hungry woodpecker, stabbing and stabbing. Why isn't he here?

Baby, don't leave me!

I blink away tears from unseeing eyes. I can't remember if I said that or not. The words swim around my consciousness, echoing in my mind. It's all one big puzzle to me and the pieces have been scattered to the winds, scattered by warm light…

Come back, baby, please!

I hear him! This time I'm sure of it!

I throw back the covers and flail my arm to his spot on the bed. When I open my eyes, I see his staring back.

"That's it, baby, stay with me," he says and I realize he's on top of me and my chest feels like it is on fire. "You're having a heart attack. The ambulance is on the way." Tears fall from his eyes and mix with mine, tracing a warm line down my cheek; it feels real. "Oh God, baby, don't leave me," he says.

"I won't if you won't," I say.