Silent Partner / by Zoe Paskett

His outline is a blurred silhouette in front of the window. I can’t make out his eyes but I know they stare, unblinking and unseeing, into the street. A glare of light bleeds through the crack and slips over me, but I’m still blind.

Without my glasses on, everything hangs in a dream state; fuzzy around the edges, floating an inch off the ground, ghostly and uncertain. He walks back over to the bed and slides quietly beneath the duvet, unaware that I’m awake and watching him. He doesn’t notice my moon-drenched face or my lighter breathing or my unnatural stillness, but at this distance I can see everything and I can see he notices nothing.

He only thinks at night and they are thoughts more cavernous than any he shares with me in the waking hours. I long for him to share. I long to know where his mind goes when he is silent, but he allows me only an inch towards him.

Perhaps he remembers someone else; this is where my mind goes when his mind leaves. Perhaps he remembers a time when he was something else, or perhaps he remembers being somewhere else. Elsewhere, else-while, else-why? It must be an ‘other’ time, being another person with another person. A person that isn’t me.

I remember a me that I hate, quivering and timid and afraid. In the darkness, she returns and spurs me on as I watch him lying awake next to me. Feel it, she says. Feel the disconnection, his callous disregard for you. He doesn’t care, she says.

But in life, he turns and engulfs me in his arms. His eyes are closed and content and we banish her together. She is a remnant of me from before, insecure. And she will come back, but he will hold me.