There hadn’t been any warning.
Her demons would come out at night, when her eyes were large and liquid and her face was a mask of fear. “I don’t,” she had said, stuttering for a start, “I can’t be in a place where people are so preoccupied with how to spend their lives that – that they… forget they have one.”
He had merely pulled her close and murmured into her ear quietly, “Go to sleep,” and not given it any more thought.
I should have noticed sooner.
Even though nothing was missing (save her coat and her wallet), he knew she was not returning. The house was bleak and desolate, and he didn’t even bother turning on the lamp, squinting when a flash of lightning illuminated the room and revealed itself to him in all its unnatural loneliness. He could almost picture her curled up on the armchair, a book half-open in her hands, betraying that she wasn’t really reading at all.
Now he knew. All those half-smiles: she had been crying – howling, begging – for help. For understanding.
He hadn’t heard.