This one was written late last night due to something that BehindGrayEyes said to me. Something along the lines of 'you should try writing late into the night more often then.' So I did. And this is the result. Enjoy!
The Sound of Friendship
It was the silence that woke you. That is my guess. It is now a normal thing to wake up and find you gone from the bed on the other side of the tiny room. I have no troubles, for my mind does not wander to the same places as yours. But I am not the one who wakes up the next morning with bleary eyes and an increasing difficulty in remembering things. No, that is most definitely you. Never have I seen anyone act this way. Never have I seen anyone seem so lost, even in their own home.
I throw back my blankets and pull a robe around myself to protect against the chill of the night air. It is so different now. Before, it had been so warm, with no need to wrap myself in any kind of layers. I tie the belt around my waist and make for where I know I will find you. Every time I wake up to find you missing, I can always find you in the same place.
I step out onto the balcony that juts out from the back of our tiny apartment and I see your figure silhouetted against the moonlit landscape and the twinkling lights of the city. You look so out of place, like a flower that has been plucked out of a garden and dropped into a sea of concrete. You are leaning against the railing and your eyes are facing the west. Always the west. I know what is on your mind and I almost cry to think that there is nothing that I can do to help.
I move forward and drop my elbows onto the railing by your side. I can tell that you are aware of my presence, but your eyes never shift, never move from the western horizon.
"Does it hurt?" I ask.
You drop your gaze to your hands and fiddle with your fingers for a moment, and then there is a slow nod. "In a way," you say.
I look out at the point that you have been staring towards and I heave a sigh. "I wish I could help you."
You laugh softly and I know that your gaze has returned to its original position. "There are many times that you do help," you say. "Distractions can help to ease the ache."
"But there is not much that I can do at night."
It is your turn to sigh then I and I shift my eyes back to you, your profile dark against the sea of lights below us.
"It is only when I am awake that it is bad," you say. "My dreams are clear of it. In fact, many times my dreams are a place that I want to remain in. They are an escape."
I give a soft smile, even though I know that you cannot see it. At least you have something that can help to ease your troubles. I know how much you ache for a return and I ache just as much to give you what you desire. If all that I can give you is an ear to listen to your troubles and a gentle word of encouragement, then that is what I will give you.
"One day," I say. "One day you will return and the silence will not trouble you anymore."
You nod and I can see the barest of grateful smiles. You know that I try. You know that I wish to do more. And it seems to be enough for you. Finally you pull your eyes from the distant horizon and look at me with the same tired smile.
"Come," you say. "Let's go back to bed."
The next night I am anxious and near bursting with excitement for I have found something that I have been looking for since we had first moved into this cramped apartment. I want to tell you, but I also wish to keep it as a surprise. I feel like a pot that is about to boil over, so great is my joy, but I do my best to keep it hidden from you.
I can tell that I am not entirely successful. You keep giving me glances at dinner and peering at me over the book you pick up afterwards. I avert my eyes and try to keep my inner delight toned down to a minimum, but it is so hard.
Eventually the day draws to a close and we find ourselves in the diminutive bedroom, our familiar routine falling easily into place. But as you climb into bed, pulling the covers over your legs, I am practically skipping to one side of the room. You watch me with a look of cautious curiosity and follow my every movement as I pop open the top of our CD player.
"You know that music doesn't help," you say, finally looking away and settling down against your pillows.
I push the top closed and pick up the remote before hopping into my own bed. You are facing me, but your eyes are already closed, ready to drift off to sleep once I am settled and quiet. I wait to turn off the light, press the play button on the remote, and then I wait.
Ever so slowly, a sound begins to drift through the room; a gentle, pulsating, and soothing sound. I smile broadly when I see your eyes pop open in surprise and then lock onto me with disbelief.
"You found one!" you say.
I nod and carefully adjust the volume before shutting off the light and dropping onto my pillows.
"I know it isn't the same as the real thing," I say. "But it should at least help with the silence."
You are quiet for a long time, and then I hear a soft sniff and I know that the darkness is hiding your tears.
"Thank you," you finally whisper.
"You are very welcome," I say.
The CD does the trick. That night you remain asleep. I know, because I lay awake just listening to the soft sound of your breathing and smiling because of it. It is almost dawn before I finally drift to sleep. But, even though I am going to be tired the next day, I am glad to know that you will finally get some proper rest. And so I am smiling as I fade into the world of dreams with the rhythmic sounds of the ocean surf ebbing and flowing through the room around us.