To Say Goodbye

The rain outside was lazy, not even quite drizzling down and covering the world in a freakishly thick mist, giving everything an ephemeral quality that would make most anyone simply want to curl up and get back to sleep.

Not so with the blue-eyed man, who was awake in the wee hours, dressed and standing at an open window, watching the fog roll across the landscape. He shouldn’t even be here. It never made sense, these dreams. They couldn’t be, but they were, and they felt every bit as real as waking. He smoked a cigarette and frowned, lost in thought.

The whole house was eerily quiet, and only now and again could a man be seen checking his piece of the perimeter, from where he stood.

Even Claire was lost in dreams, pleasantly floating as though in utero, lost to herself and relaxed for it.

It was only he who was no longer sedate, and the tension in his stance was perhaps enough for everyone.

“If you had to run, because it was safer, for you and for them, to stay separate, would you?” he wonders quietly, not looking back toward her, still smoking. He raked his tousled hair back out of his face and put his hand back in his pocket.

Outside, the wind wasn’t blowing much, letting the fog reach greysilver fingers into the garden, misty and directionless.

In his suit and tie, he stared out across what felt almost like an empty world, where the whole of humanity rested curled up in bed, unaware of anything that could possibly be amiss.

He didn’t ask her again — he didn’t need her to. She’d do whatever she felt necessary. No matter what. Safer, not safer. Good for her, for them. She’d do what she thought was right.

He leaned to put out his cigarette, and added the bluegrey smoke of his exhale to the damp grey of outside.

“There’s things that need doing,” he said quietly, the only thing left to say.

He wanted to say he’d be back. He wanted to say that it wasn’t dangerous, wasn’t worrisome, and that when it was over, they’d be safe, and he’d be with her.

He wanted, more than anything, to not walk out that door. He wanted to know that if he did go and did come back, that nothing would have changed between them.

He settled for the fact that he got to say goodbye.

Even if that word never comes.

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