She lay on her side in bed, the covers pulled up, hugged against her despite the warmth of the evening. One arm was free of the covers and she gently touched the picture stuck to the wall beside her head. She could look direct into his eyes without shifting her head on the pillow. Over and over she gently brushed her fingers over his photographic lips, touched his reproduced nose, and stroked his picture perfect hair. She didn’t want to turn out the light, for to do so would mean she could no longer see the picture. Not that she needed it; his every feature was indelibly drawn in her brain. And she wanted to sleep. But she couldn’t bring herself to turn out the light. With the light on she had that tentative link with him, she could look into his smiling eyes. When the light went out, she would be alone with her thoughts and no longer able to fool herself that she wasn’t with him.
The same urge that kept music playing constantly, kept the light burning, and her pen scribbling long after she should be at rest. Every moment, music was playing, or the radio was on, anything to fill the silence she was once so happy in. Once, silence meant time to think, time to dream, time to write. Now it still meant all those things. But now the silence had a name. His name. She ached to touch him, to hear his voice. But when the music stopped, or when she stopped moving, she could no longer fool herself.
There were times, when she wasn’t paying attention, that she could forget him for a moment. Concentrating on a particular problem, or talking to her friends. But then she would remember and bend almost double in pain. It physically hurt, like a punch to the stomach, and there was nothing she could do. So she kept the music playing. And the lights on. And pen and paper always to hand, or the computer on.
She flicked the media player on and, even though she couldn’t see the screen without her glasses, the mouse invariably found the correct file. Open. Play. And his voice filled the room. As the tears started rolling, his voice wrapped round her like a blanket. Soft, honey rich, full of love and lifeâ€¦ And she hit play over and over. Five, ten, twenty times. His voice played over and over. Thirty precious seconds. She lived for those seconds.
In the darkness now, she plays the clip once more and closes her eyes against the pain. She holds her hand back from the mouse, ordering herself not to click “Play” again. 20 times tonight. 19 tomorrow.