Waking To These Thoughts

Dreams were still there, still coming, the kind that left him waking in a cold sweat, chilled and petrified, feverish and trembling.

The world was terror for him, in the dark moments of waking in the middle of the night, and a most painful realization struck him as he realized that she was not there to touch his cheek, to cool his fever or whisper away his nightmares.

She would not be there, because there was a man who was her lover, and there were children who needed her more than he did.

There was a bond of her flesh now, of her blood, and it had nothing to do with him.

There is a kind of horror reserved for the moment the mind makes an awful leap of logic to which the heart would never, ever consent, or for a moment even dream.

If I’d killed them in retaliation, if I’d been a moment sooner back at the house

She would be alone — would she be any less broken? More broken?

Would he then, if the memories returned, be able to live with himself if he pursued her?

Waking to these thoughts was no better than the nightmare in which bloodied lovers and loved ones accused him with rotting faces, cursing him for living while they were nothing but bones in the ground.

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