Sam has invited writers to create experiences for her. If you would like to contribute, please be sure to check the submission guidelines on his site. This story is my gift to her.
Be well tonight, Jacquie.
--Your friend, Jason
Jacquie watched her husband wiggle his key into the lock. The front door opened to a silent house. At the threshold, she listened to the tallcase clock tick in the darkness until his fingers found the light.
Her husband swept in, a clumsy flurry of hands emptying pockets and wrestling out of his tuxedo. Jacquie still lingered in the foyer as he gulped a glass of water in the kitchen, then thumped up the stairs. She twisted the deadbolt, and it snapped, metal on metal.
The clock boomed a single note. One in the morning. She couldn't face the dark ceiling in the bedroom. Not yet. She set her purse on the hall table and followed her husband's trail into the kitchen.
God, her eyes burned. She eased into a chair. The pearls on her dress scratched against her neck all evening. The skin was raw, and her ribs ached from the long squeeze. She opened the buttons and drew the longest breath she could ever remember taking.
Then, the phone rang.
She jumped and snatched it before her husband waddled from the bathroom and answered it with a toothbrush in his mouth.
Her daughter, Emily.
"Is everything alright? Is something wrong?"
"No, no, everything's fine. Are you still awake?"
"Yes," Jacquie said.
But Emily didn't say any more. Jacquie tried to interpret the silence.
"Are you at the airport? Your plane is leaving soon."
"It's delayed a little while. I sent Dan to go look for some magazines. I found a quiet corner for myself."
"It's okay. The delay won't be long," Emily said.
Jacquie tried to think of things she should say.
"The ceremony was so beautiful, honey. I just know you two will be happy. And this honeymoon is going to be amazing. You're going to have a wonderful time."
"Thanks." Almost a whisper.
"Honey? Are you sure you're okay?"
Jacquie heard the quiver.
"...wanted to talk," Emily said.
Jacquie smiled and closed her eyes to keep the tears inside. "Honey, you can always talk. Whenever you want. You can talk forever."
She listened to Emily's voice, but the words were not important. She listened and the minutes passed while the sleepy world crawled on without them.