Coming Home – A short story based on the Write Now prompt

 

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In response to the Write Now Prompt at Today’s Author.

(Sentence prompt highlighted in text).

 

 

It’s so hard to move on. That’s what I was thinking as I stood in the doorway of my home. The house that Jack built; my Jack.

We’d been barely eighteen when we married. Everyone said it wouldn’t last, including our parents. Our friends had bets on it. It wasn’t that they wanted us to fail, it was more to do with the fact we’d known each other for only three weeks.

It didn’t matter. I knew after three minutes, which was how long it took him to ask me out. He was so adorable. Not in the way a puppy is adorable, but he melted my heart just the same.

As he stood there; tall and wide and clumsy looking, he told me about his dream house and how, the moment he looked at me, he knew he had to build it. Sounds too cheesy to be true, doesn’t it, and on somebody else it wouldn’t have sat right. But Jack could get away with those things. When he spoke, people listened.

It could have been the disarming way he had; the contradictions to him. He looked uncomfortable in his own skin, but the moment he spoke; the strong timbre of his voice, the confidence he projected, it was hard to deny him anything.

I’ve loved him since the day we met, and will do long after we meet again. It might be hard to move on, but letting go would take me a lot longer to accomplish.

I didn’t want to let go of my husband, of our memories, our house, but I knew I had to.

After the car accident, and the realisation that Jack was gone, I don’t remember much at all. The only thing I can recall is the house. It cocooned me for a while, allowed me to hide from my new reality. But I couldn’t stay there forever. Though I felt close to him, so close I could feel his presence, I was stuck.

All these thoughts were circling through my mind as I hovered on the doorstep. I knew I was avoiding the final steps. I’d been avoiding it for far too long.

My eyes swept the room, checking for anything I’d missed and came to rest on the window ledge. The antique telephone, the one we’d bought on a whim, was the only thing left in an otherwise empty shell.

I started across the room towards it, and then stopped dead in my tracks. The phone rang, which was strange, since they had disconnected it weeks before. It continued to ring, long and loud in the silence and still I stood, staring at it in disbelief.

I’m not sure what got me moving again, or why I picked it up. But I did.

“Hi, sweetheart. It’s me.”

My heart froze when I heard the voice, a voice as familiar as my own.

“I know you can hear me. I know it.”

I said nothing, I was being bombarded with so many memories I could barely catch my breath.

“Speak to me, Em. I know you’re there. Please, I need you to speak to me.”

“Jack?”

 

***

 

“She spoke to me. I don’t care what your results say, or the damn statistics. She spoke to me.”

Doctor Pearson put an arm on Jack’s shoulder and tried to reason with him. “I know you think…”

Jack shrugged out of his grasp. “You don’t believe me, but that doesn’t mean I’m crazy. I didn’t imagine it. She said my name.”

“We’ve seen no significant change since we brought her out of the coma. I’m sorry, Jack. I wish I had better news.”

“She’s in there, doc. You have to believe that.” Jack’s voice was hoarse with emotion. Since the accident almost three months before, he’d been living in fear. Fear that he’d lost her, that he’d never be able to tell her he was sorry.

It was his fault she’d had to drive. If he hadn’t had too many beers at the picnic, he would have been in the driver’s seat and he would have been the one fighting for his life.

He walked back over to her side and took her hand. She looked so small in the hospital bed, so lost and alone. It broke his heart.

From the moment he’d seen her fourteen years ago, he’d known they would spend the rest of their lives together. He wouldn’t allow her to leave him, not yet. He couldn’t survive without her.

“Talk to me, Em. I know you can do it. Just say my name. They don’t believe in us, sweetheart, they never believed. We have to make them see.”

The silence stretched on, broken only by the machines. Still Jack prayed. He closed his eyes and willed her to hear him, to show him a sign.

“Jack?”

His heart soared when he heard her soft croak. “Yes, it’s me. I’m here. Come back to me, Em.”

He could barely see through his tears. They dripped onto her skin when he kissed her face, over and over again. “Come back to me, sweetheart.”

The heart monitor beeped in response and it was the most beautiful sound he’d ever heard.

***

Thanks for reading

Mel

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