Liz woke up that morning to a cold empty bed. She turned to look at the digital clock on the nightstand. She hated that clock. It was so clinical, and Sunil always forgot to turn the alarm off on the weekends. NPR would blare at 6 a.m., jolting her abruptly out of her early morning dreams. He must have turned it off last night, though, because it was 7:12.
Usually she and Sunil would wrap their limbs around each other in the morning, face to face, entagled, synchronizing their inhalations and exhalations. Liz had started doing this to avoid Sunil’s nasty morning breath – but she let Sunil think it was some kind of special way they had of connecting. Relationship pranayama.
No answer. She wanted him to come warm her up.
She tried again, this time a little louder. “Sunil? Where are you?”
Liz swung her legs over the side of the bed and reluctantly pulled herself to a sitting position. She was too lazy to grab any of her clothes from the floor, and it was too damn cold to walk around totally naked. She stood up, pulling the sheet with her and wrapping it around her body.
She walked down the hallway and into the living room. Sunil was sitting at the kitchen counter, his head in his hands.
“What’s the matter, honey? Don’t you feel well?”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
“Come back to bed.” Liz waited for a moment, as Sunil kept his head down. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
“We need to talk.”
Liz froze. She’d been reaching out to touch Sunil’s back. Her arm stopped in midair. She pulled her hand back to her chest, clutching the sheet closer.
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. Liz wished she could just fast-forward the next half-hour right now. Actually, make that the next month or two. It was all right there in front of her. It was like the way people said your life flashed before your eyes before you died. Only this was the opposite. It was like a movie of the next month of anger and shock and sobbing whipped through her mind in an instant.
She didn’t need to hear it. She didn’t need The Talk. She didn’t want to stand here nearly naked, wrapped in her sheet, undignified and bleary-eyed (she hadn’t even had coffee, for God’s sake). What an asshole. She wanted to scream and yell and throw something at him. She’d never been one to make a scene, but now would sure as hell be a good time to start.