The birds sang a sunrise affirmation from the trees and bushes. An engine roared to life with a sputter. He lay, staring at the ceiling as the world awakened around him. He closed his eyes and waited for the alarm to go off. This was his new normal. The birds, the cars, the alarm and then sleepwalking through the rigmarole of another day.
It slowly sounded, raising in intensity from light rumble to cacophony. He ran his hand across the screen. It fell momentarily, oppressively even, silent. He swung his legs over the side and rested his head on his hands.
How long since he had slept? Really slept. Not the fits and starts of ten minute nightmares that led to his eyes tracing along the ceiling and searching for answers hidden in the shadowed textures. The coffee maker sputtered a past spray of hot water to slowly sink through the grounds. He could smell it, the scent of alertfulness needed to pretend another day.
He reached over and grabbed the stuffed bear gently. Held it over his face as he inhaled. He told himself it smelled like her. It didn’t. Not any longer. It smelled of his tears soaked into the stuffing. The softness of the fur was a comfort. This was another lie he told himself. One of an increasingly large pile of lies that he haphazardly stacked in an effort to function.
He wasn’t foolish enough to tell himself it was all near to toppling. He couldn’t convince himself of that lie as well. He enters the walk in closet. His fingers trail across her blouses and dresses absently. He grabs a shirt at random from his side. Stops. Stares at it. Remembering the trip to the store when she picked it out for him. Held it to his chest and smiled. He hangs it back up. Grabs a less memory fraught article. Flips off the light. Trails his finger across her shirts again. Shuts the door.