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The sky was a dark mass of broken black clouds. Claps of thunder shook the world, lightning streaked across the blackness, creating sharp flashes of light.
I sat on the couch, looking out the window, which was drizzling with rain. My eyes stung, and I stifled a sob. Where was he? Why didn’t he come back? It was like a disorienting circle in my head, the same questions looping over and over until it became a blob of words all clouding my thoughts.
Dreams were shattered. Every hope I’d had at having a life with him were in flames in the fireplace. It was inevitable that I would end up alone. Even if there was a man willing to sacrifice their love for me, I knew it was too late for myself. They’d be giving more than they would receive – and I wasn’t sure many people were prepared for that challenge.
My hand drew circles on the armchair, forming small patterns. There was a harsh pounding all around the room, making an astonishing rhythm. It came right from within my chest, cascading out so hard I wouldn’t be surprised if others could hear it through the silence.
Except for the clock. It’s hollow tick, tock shattered the silence, caused me to shake violently beneath the blanket. A tear slipped down my cheek, and I was too messed up to wipe it away. I was sick of hiding my feelings. Let the waterfall begin.
Sure enough, the flow began, and heaving sobs began to wheeze through my tight lips. I could barely make out colors through my fuzzy eyes, could no longer hear the deathly toll of the old cedar clock. My heart was pounding much too loud, my sobs drowning out most of everything.
That’s probably why I didn’t hear the car pull in.
As I sobbed, my hand caressed my bulging stomach. I felt a soft kick against it, and felt another gut wrenching shudder rip its way through my weary body. I rubbed my stomach with shaking hands.
“Shh… we’ll be okay…,” I whispered in broken gasps. There was no reply in my body, and I rested my forehead on my knees. The fire was warm, although I felt chilled. I needed his arms around me, right now…
Knock. I started at the sound of someone tapping on the hardwood door. Struggling from my loose fetal position on the love seat, I walked slowly over to the door. Wiping the tears off my face the best I could, I opened it. It wasn’t like I gave a crap about my appearance.
In the doorway, was pouring rain. I frowned, not in the mood to put up with pranks. Especially on a dreary, stormy night like this. I looked down, and began to close the door. But instead, I froze, my eyes locked and focusing in on the object on the steps. It was a radio, under an umbrella. The car in the driveway was hidden by shadows, it’s headlights turned off.
As much as I knew it was probably smarter to shut the door, lock it, and leave the radio on the porch, I found my strained and sore body bending down. A note attached to the device was blowing in the wind. I tore it off, reading it carefully.
Press the play button.
Warily, I pushed lightly on the button, listening through the rain. At first, I couldn’t tell what it was. A loud clap of thunder had created a much louder alternative. I had to wait until it faded to actually hear any of the song.
I choked on my air, feeling light headed and nauseated. The song playing was soft, mellow, thrumming out a love song. With a rather electrifying jolt, I realized it was our song. Carson and mine. I couldn’t find the will to breathe back in as I stood back up. My eyes were stinging again, and a new feeling welled inside me. Hope bean to flower in the pit of my stomach.
“Carson?” I whimpered. My throat was closing, making me feel claustrophobic. Lightning illuminated the yard, and I saw a figure by our willow tree. It didn’t take me more than that to know.
“Carson!” I called, more loudly, but still broken. I took a shuffling step towards the stairs, and then began to run towards him. Thunder smashed in the clouds, the lightning making my vision more crystal clear. I ran to the willow tree, my heart pounding.
There was no way he was here – it wasn’t physically possible… was it?
I ran to the shadow, my arms outstretched. Rain drenched my clothes, but it was nothing compared to the joy I felt. My sobs were returning, and I was so close to his warmth, into his arms again.
Another flash of lightning. Carson stretched his arms out in welcome, and I ran as fast as I could into them.
But then… nothing. I ran into cold air, a large spot of cooler air. Another small lightning bolt proved that I was wrong. No one was here – it must have been a shadow. My knees trembled, and I fell on them. The world spun, the thunder clapped loudly, as if appeased by this new discovery.
I lay down, my head in my knees, and screamed. He was here. He had been, just seconds ago. The worst part was, I could still feel his presence.
I should have known. I thought bitterly. Carson died weeks ago. He wouldn’t be here. I’m such an idiot.
The rain continued to splash cold, unforgiving rain droplets on me, but I felt numb and cold already. Nothing really affected me. I felt the sobs lessen and lessen, and soon I could almost tell my lips were blue with chills, my teeth chattering. I could almost care.
Stumbling awkwardly, I shied my way back to the house, feeling despair gloom my thoughts more than the storm clouds. Everything was a hollow pit of misery, never to be fixed or to disappear. No man would ever patch up my broken heart.
The radio and the car were gone. A pigment of my imagination? Probably. I was too upset to really give it much thought.
But something more interesting was on the blanket I’d been using. Another note. I felt a shudder ripple through my spine, the hair on my neck rising up. Maybe this was a trap…
Despite my hunch, I read the note. It read
I love you. I will always love you. You really don’t need to see to believe, Haley.
Love always, Carson