The Night It Ended


A strangled smile fell from your face
What kills me that I hurt you this way
The worst part is that I didn’t even know
Now there’s a million reasons for you to go
But if you can find a reason to stay

Whatever It Takes written by Jason Wade, Jude Cole, performed by Lifehouse

The same nurse is on duty this afternoon as yesterday. She nods when she sees me, enters Dominic’s room, and then gestures for me to go in.

He’s elevated, but not quite sitting. He looks thinner, paler, and his eyes flash anger at me, a jarring expression from him. To say I feel perplexed would be a vast understatement.

“It’s great to see you,” I say, tentatively, and then move to kiss him, but he raises his palm like a traffic cop, stopping me in mid-lean. I straighten, frown, and then shake my head.

“What’s happened?”

“I was shot.”

“I know that. I was here.”

“When? When were you here? Once? Tansy says you found it ‘inconvenient’ to be here.”

“What?” I swallow. “I was here every day except for when my bosses made me go to that conference or lose my job.”

I try to take his hand, but he shakes me off.

“I sent you texts.”

“You might notice they don’t allow cells here.”

Tears sting and I bite my lip hard to keep them back. Stupid, stupid me.

“Face it, Clare. You’ve never been as into me as I was into you. Getting shot, dying, waking up and finding you nowhere near. All of that clarified things for me.”

“But . . .”

“If something were going to happen between us, it would have happened by now.”

“But, Dominic, I . . .”

“No more. Okay? I put my heart out there for you because I thought you were the one for me. I’ve learned maybe I didn’t have to look that far for love. That maybe it was with me every day before you ever came along.”


“So that’s it?”

He doesn’t look at me when he nods. “Yeah, that’s it.”

I want to say more. There’s more to say, but he doesn’t sound like himself or look like himself and pain tightens his face. This time when I lean down, he doesn’t stop me. I kiss his lips, but he returns nothing. His lips are cool, unmoving, disavowing.

Death didn’t take him, but it feels as if it did.


end 9/14/2016

S. Darlington


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