by Rebecca Rowan
4:00 a.m. Sarah knew what the clock would say even before she looked at it. She squinted across the expansive king sized bed, empty except for the small white cat curled on Alex’s pillow.
Sighing, she tossed back the blanket, knowing from past experience, the futility of any effort at returning to sleep. She crawled from the warm nest she had created, spending the chilly night huddled in a fetal position to conserve warmth. She never realized how much heat Alex created, a veritable private furnace in bed - and not just sexually, although there was that too, she admitted. Now, cold seeped from the void space, and throughout the night she edged closer to the opposite side of the mattress, trying to escape its icy grasp.
But every morning she awoke, restless, the dawn reaching into her subconscious and nudging her from sleep. There was no good reason for it, this early waking. In truth, she might be happiest if she never woke at all, if she drifted quietly into nothingness sometime during the dead of night.
She stumbled from the bedroom to the living room, and opened the blinds. A rising sun greeted her, bleeding through the waning clouds, and sending them skittering on their way. “There you are,” it seemed to say. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
There was this, at least, she thought, settling into her favorite chair -this sun in the morning, her one companion through the restless dawn.