The light of a new day snuck past the blinds on my window. Grumbling, I rolled over in my bed and yanked the covers over my head. I knew then. I felt it . . . in the silence. It was the silence that hides in the shadows of chaos, lurking, waiting. I squeezed my eyes closed, not ready to accept it, hear it.
Maybe I’m wrong.
I released a heavy sigh, threw off the covers and left the comfort and security of my bed. Invisible weights were strapped around my ankles, making my steps feel heavy and unsteady. When I entered the living room, my gaze found my computer. It looked the same as it did last night, but I knew something was different.
I trudged toward the computer, turned it on, and waited.
I could be wrong.
I opened Diyari Chronicles and stared at the words. I felt it . . . the void . . . My stomach rolled. Then I heard the words in my mind: “We need to talk.”
“We do?” I asked.
“I’ve been thinking—”
“Oh, that’s dangerous.” I forced a laugh.
“ . . .”
“I’m sorry. Go on.”
“You come to me night after night. You pour your heart out to me; yet, I see the sadness. I feel the change.”
“What?” I shrieked. “Things are great.”
“Really? In the past month we’ve spent the same amount of hours together but we’re not saying much. You’ve only edited three chapters. Do you even like the changes?”
“Well, I have a lot going on.” I reluctantly admitted, staring at the two boxes by the front door. Each box held games and books that had occupied the shelves in my office at work.
“Exactly,” my mind said. “And lately, I’ve been feeling like an obligation.”
“You’re not an obligation. I love spending time with you. You make me laugh. You make me feel . . .”
“See? Three months ago you would have said happy. Now you can’t identify a feeling.”
“I was trying to find the right one. It’s 6:30 am. I have a job interview this afternoon. I have to finish these insurance panel applications. I need to return three phone calls. I have to edit y . . .” I glanced at the screen, the flashing cursor.
“. . .”
My heart curled in on itself.
“I’m not breaking up with you. I just think we need to take a break.”
“That’s what they all say. And then three months later,” I swept my finger across my throat, “‘I want to officially break up.’”
“We aren’t breaking up. I’m giving you the space you need and secretly want. And quite frankly, I don’t want your negative emotions mucking up our great story.”
“But shouldn’t you stick around? You know, walk beside me in the storm?”
“Your friends and family should do that. I’m just a story; I can’t hold your hand.”
A tear slid down my cheek.
“Now you’re gonna cry? I hate it when you cry.” A long pause. “I’m not leaving you. Listen. Go on. Listen.”
I listened. There was silence for several seconds and then I heard my characters whispering in my mind.
“See? I’m still there.”
I swiped my tear. “When will you come back?”
“When you have space for me in your mind. When your heart can feel my joy.”
“That could take forever. I’ve got so much going on.”
“You won’t even know I’m gone. And when we’re together again you’ll swear the time passed quickly.”
I inhaled. The air tasted bitter with truth. My shoulders slumped as I read the words on the page. With a heavy sigh, I went up to file, clicked on exit, and turned off my computer.
It’s just a break.