Rain Against the Window
I know this is highly irregular, but before I begin this story, I'd like to apologize to those of you who used to read my short stories, since I haven't posted anything in so long.The reason for my absence is that I've been working on a short stories book, a compilation of sorts. (As soon as I finish it, I'll post a link, by the way.)
This will be a very short story, which I hope you'll enjoy. Without further ado...
The raindrops hitting the thin glasses that divide the inside from the outside forced the man to crawl out of his hypnotic sleep. Facing the window, he turned to embrace his wife. Only she was not there. He opens his eyes, slowly getting used to the overwhelming darkness that engulfs it all, to come to the awful realization that his wife is indeed missing. The sheets and cover from her side of the bed remain disturbed in such a way that implicates that someone pulled the covers aside and got out of bed. He traveled the space his wife occupied to sleep with his hand, tracing the fine details the years of use have created on the mattress. Heat was barely perceptible, but undoubtedly there. He sighed. It was not the first time she had gone to the kitchen, to the bathroom, even to the convenience store nearby to fetch something, but it was likely the first time he had woken up before she came back. He lifted his head a bit to check a hunch, which immediately proved to be right: the door was wide open, leading to more darkness.
He returned to his original position, to face the trembling window. It was rain season, nothing unseen of, but the rain was particularly heavy that night. So very heavy. That night seemed to be proving to be an unprecedented night in all aspects. And it was certainly, the only detail is that he didn't know it. Yet.
Missing wife, heavy rain, this was uncanny. Another person might find these things to be absolutely ordinary, if not commonplace, but this isn't the story of any other person, this is the story of a man deeply fond of the routine: the unchanging, constant, periodic routine. He never understood why so many people around him longed for so many changes in their lives throughout so many times of their existences. He simply couldn't understand this desire: why cherish change when being able to have an idyllic existence all the time?
Or maybe he was too melancholic. He clung so hard, to the point of stubbornness, to the past. Saying goodbye to his childhood home at age fifteen, a stage of transition for many, was one of, if not the hardest thing he had been forced to do. Now an adult, he always had trouble finding the right house for him. The elements it had to have been fairly complicated to come across: a touch of nostalgia and the reminder that something new awaits. That's why buying this house, the house he lived in right now, had been a joyous occasion, to say the least. It had not only greatly pleased him, but his wife, as well. What a joyous occasion, indeed.
Ah, he was wandering off into the depths of his mind yet again. Suddenly, the depths brought - no, spat out something back: was he actually awake? The memories he'd been through were vivid to the point they seemed tangible. And it was an unprecedented night. Maybe he was still asleep. Maybe it was all a dream. Good or bad, he couldn't tell.
He didn't know, couldn't decide whether to get up and go look for his wife or stay in bed and try to fall asleep again. The rain gradually decreased in intensity. Tne few scattered drops that still fell from the sky weren't powerful enough to cast the sort of noise the droplets of before had. No, these ones landed softly on the window, slid across it, becoming bigger at each drop it touched and swallowed, and finally rested on the frame, where they would eventually either evaporate or slide even further across the facade. He found all this very soothing, though the idea of someone or something unknown landing close to you and absorbing you disturbed him more than it should. It was all very metaphorical, of course.
Absolute silence. The rain had stopped and the insects in the surrounding areas were safely hiding to avoid that merciless current, so not even the noise of a lost cricket was to be heard. Silence. He enjoyed silence, considering it was such a rare commodity. In the middle of a busy city, with a busy job and a busy household, it was extremely rare to find a moment of complete silence. He even stopped breathing to appreciate it more. And, suddenly, a sound.
A Final Sound
It was more noise than a sound. It came from downstairs, probably the kitchen, considering the sound resembled a pot falling to the wooden floor, said diminishing the severity of the fall. His wife was likely preparing something to drink. Maybe a tea or even warm milk. He turned once more, now facing his wife's pillow. He waited patiently fo her to return. The day before had been overwhelmingly busy. Arrangements, preparations, all sorts of time-consuming activities. There was one thing that bothered him, and it bothered him quite a bit: he couldn't remember what it was he had worked on all day. It seemed impossible that he couldn't; it was repeated to him many times.
Albeit it did not matter much. He was sure, confident he had finished the tasks he was given, and in a very satisfactory way, too. He closed his eyes, decided to return to his sleep once and for all, now that all noise and sounds had been extinguished. Just then, the squeaky steps of the staircase were stepped on, a unique sound, positively distinct from any other sound the old house made. First, it was a soft sound; then, it began to gain sonority as each step was given. He was able to perfectly discriminate when his wife's feet touched the wooden floor of the hall. The boards wouldn't make a sound, but her slippers would. As with the steps, the aforementioned sound became louder and louder, until it reached the threshold of the bedroom.
He didn't decide to open his eyes, pretending to be asleep as a lot of people do. He did wonder, however, what was keeping his wife from lying down on their comfortable bed, right next to him. He wanted her to do so, but she simply didn't. He could feel her eyes moving up and down his ambiguous shape under the covers.
And then it hit him, the preparations he had been doing quite diligently the day before: his wife's funeral.