Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lif and Mel Lament

Melna came home, making her usual sounds of habit. The opening doors and untying of boots I had grown fond of over the years did not help me today when Kip's chair sat empty. I mustered a "welcome home" and got up to prepare our last meal of the day. She walked into the room and returned my greeting without a look, instead grabbing a cup of water and moving to the grand room window to observe the waking torches of faraway homes. I continued washing the grains and chopping the roots I had picked that morning.

She chimed in after a moment, "He really left then?"
"This morning... Yes."
She paused, still staring at the torches and sipping.
"So stupid," she muttered.

She turned and with a slow and heavy pace, she approached the kitchen. She set her cup down stared at my work.
"How are you?" She asked me in her concerned voice.
It was an unexpected question. I stopped and took a few seconds to think of something to say, but she saved me before I could answer.
"You don't have to answer that right now, I just–"
"No, it's okay. The truth is... I just haven't thought about it too much. I've been too focused to think about it."
"Too focused? You're never like that, Lif."
I smiled a little bit inside, but I know Mel sensed it.
"Lif, I'm nervous too."
She stopped my chopping with a touch on my shoulder and took my hand.
"You and I have to keep going. So that when Kip comes home he–"
"If he comes home", I reminded her.

I went back to chopping and she turned and went back to the window with her cup. I knew she was thinking the same thing.