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The Dark Never Felt so Alone
Rowan laid awake in bed, placid, her body as though pinned under the vintage bedspreads. She peered into the dark, making out what she could, most of which was just part of her imagination. The heavy light from the alarm clock flickered the digits 6:00 a.m., piercing through the unbroken darkness. Rowan glanced to the other side of the bed, the vintage patterns untouched and still tucked under the mattress. She began to whimper, almost for everyone to hear, but no one was there. She spent another night alone.
Rowan’s optimism was beginning to diminish. She slowly fell into a state of hopelessness. Her body began to grow sore, as she spent another Sunday breaking in the couch cushions and exercising her fingers with the television remote. As usual, she overlooked the commercials, for she thought they were simply an excuse to race for food, but she wouldn’t give in. This time, an internet dating advertisement averted her eyes towards the screen. In curiosity, Rowan ventured to the other side of her apartment, stumbling over what she considered “necessary clutter”. Once she cleared the desk of tax papers and receipt slips she flipped open her laptop and logged onto Match.com. A bizarre feeling suddenly surged through her veins as she feverishly pounded down the keys, filling out her profile, with a newfound hope.
On the other side of the computer screen was Mark, yet in a very different situation. Not bothered by his tiny office cubicle, Mark finds himself constantly squirming in his desk chair, trying to find a comfortable place of rest without a spring jabbing at his under thighs. Mark too was filling out a Match.com profile. Much simpler and less fantastical than Rowan’s, he reluctantly pressed the enter key and settled for a cup of coffee off the cart.
Almost as though the two match profiles were separated at birth, they were reunited almost instantaneously. Before Rowan could return to the television and Mark could regress into his daily work routine, a “match file” popup sprung to the screen.
Blankets Can’t Compare
Rowan nestled herself into each and every available crevice in Mark’s body and couldn’t have felt any more at ease. As they laid one with serenity and the stars danced amongst the moon, Mark moved his hand around the inside of his pocket and fondled with an object which made a square outline in his light washed jeans. With an uncertain look upon his face, Mark withdrew his hand and placed it across Rowan as he did before. They spent the rest of their Friday night amidst the humming of crickets and the sound of their own breathing. Spoken words were far and few in between, but they didn’t need to talk. Rowan could feel Mark’s chest rhythmically move up and down, and this comfort put her to sleep. Mark laid still with his arm still rested under her body. As it soon became engulfed in pins and needles, Mark didn’t move, for all he wanted was for Rowan to be happy. Despite the pain, Mark found comfort in Rowan’s bliss and for the first time he pushed her hair behind her ears and whispered, “I love you”.
Hours later, Rowan awoke in shivers and nudged Mark to wake up. His eyes opened slowly as she brushed her hand over his scruffy face. Mark squinted into her eyes, which reflected not only the stars but the world as a whole; he fell in love with her all over again.
We’re Still in Love?
“Honey, let’s go out tonight,” stated Rowan, as Mark continued to type and stare at the computer screen.
“Mmm,” grunted Mark.
Wrapping her arms over Mark’s shoulders, Rowan stutters, “I-I-I love you Mark.”
“Yeah, yeah of course,” Mark says as he gets up and grabs his heavy leather jacket; “I’ll be home later”.
The door shuts and the sound seemed to echo as if there was nothing in the room but Rowan. She instantly tramples over anything in her way, and tosses herself onto her vintage bed sheets. Rowan’s head burrowed into the pillow as streams of black tears ran from her face and onto the pillow. She suddenly began to feel numb to the world around her and her desire to live was decreasing with every gasp for air.
Hours passed and Rowan’s tears had ceased. Her face was pale and her body was stained with grief. The little hope she had left was crushed when the clock struck midnight in the other room. “Mark isn’t coming home,” Rowan thought to herself, wiping down her face with a washcloth and then sliding into bed. Rowan’s eyes began to well up again, but this time the tears weren’t coming. A single drop rested at the end of her eyelash twinkling in the light of the alarm clock. The clock read 12:13 a.m. and her eyelids began to close.
Mark lies face down on the bar table as pool balls crack and poker bets are shouted in the near distance. Approximately 7 drinks later, the bartender wakes Mark up with the slam of a beer glass and states, “I think you’ve had enough”. Mark still felt the graze of light fingertips running over his back. He glanced into the pair of eyes, with much too much makeup, and exchanged a kiss. Mark, then reached for his keys and jacket, and urgently left the bar. Fumbling over himself, he managed to gain some sort of consciousness and start up the car. The car radio buzzed the hour 7:00 a.m. It started raining.
The organ began to symphonize and cued the entrance of Rowan. The doors opened and, like an angel, Rowan walked so fluidly it seemed as though she was floating. As she made her way down the isle, she began to reminisce. Nothing stood out in her mind more vividly than the day Mark proposed. Rowan began to think…
Earlier that day we spent several hours along the beach’s edge searching for clams. Mark was already in the water and he teased me about how I was afraid to come in, but I secretly liked it. After watching Mark gather enough clams for the both of us, I jumped up into his arms as he carried me back to our rental cabin. I remember distinctly the glow in Mark’s eyes when he told me to get ready for dinner. Upon my return I remember how eloquently the table was set and how beautiful mark looked across the table through the candlelight. I glanced down at my plate and I already had a lonely clam placed in the center of my plate. I looked up at Mark, puzzled, and then back down at my plate. I cautiously cracked open the shell, only to find the most beautiful ring I have ever seen, resting in the center of the clam. I glanced back up at him and said, “Yes”.
Suddenly, Rowan broke out of her trance and found herself facing Mark hand in hand. The priest uttered the words every couple anticipates hearing and without thinking, holding back tears, they each said, “I do”.
Goodbye, My Lover
The morning air was solemn and the dew trickled at the end of each blade of grass. Rowan stood at the end of the walkway with her suitcase as she waited for her taxi. Her eyes were swollen and her body frail, but she stood strong. The rain pummeled the top of her head and her clothes seemed to weigh more than she did as she stared blankly ahead. The taxi arrived and Rowan began to pack all of her things. She saw headlights in the distance. The rain distorted her sight but she was sure she recognized the car. Swerving back and forth, the cars speed was unyielding. Rowan’s reaction time had slowed so greatly from the past few nights and she frankly had no desire to get out of the way. Suddenly Rowan realized whose car it was and, like out of a nightmare, there was a blinding flash.
Goodbye, For Good.
Rowan awoke in the hospital, a widow.