Silence wakes her. Heavy, suffocating, broken only by ragged breaths and a name on her lips. She chokes back a sob and reaches for her phone, sends a text she knows she’ll regret.
You won’t answer, but… I miss you.
The screen remains stagnant. Wide awake now, she sits up in bed. Her cheeks are wet with tears she never cried, ones she has held back for over a year. She wonders why until she notices the date. Of course.
Today is our anniversary.
She shakes her head, hits delete.
Today was our anniversary. Can you believe it? One year since our wedding day. 13 months since you left me.
Pathetic, but she cannot stop the tidal wave of words. Her fingers move on their own. Her mind knows these texts are pointless, that he will stay silent. The number has most likely changed hands, but she continues to press send.
I miss you always, though I try not to. It’s paralyzing.
How can I forgive what you did?
I want to hate you. You left me all alone.
I DO hate you. I hate you for going away.
HOW COULD YOU?!
Anger punches her in the chest. Every negative emotion kept at bay pours over her until she gasps for air. Shaking, shrieking, she launches the phone. It bounces off the mattress and disappears over the side, landing seconds later on carpet with a muffled thud. She curls up and buries her face into a pillow – his old pillow.
Somehow, it still smells faintly of mint.
In the midst of the silence, her phone faintly chimes. Surely she imagined it, she thinks, until it chimes again. Heart thudding, she untangles from the sheets and races to it. There on the screen, two lines:
I’m sorry, but you’ve got the wrong number…
Her racing pulse slows. Silly to think, to hope…
This number used to belong to my fiancé.
Sorry for waking you.
Please ignore my insane ramblings…Not sure what came over me, to be honest.
Seconds pass. She moves to lock the screen when an icon appears to show the stranger typing.
Don’t worry about it.
You seem pretty upset. May I ask what happened?
What possesses her to continue this dialog, she cannot say, but she does.
He died just before our wedding last year.
Oh, God. Sorry. That’s horrible.
Today would have been our first anniversary. I guess it hit me too hard.
My girlfriend dumped me six months ago.
On my birthday.
I know it’s not the same, but… Never-mind. Pretend I didn’t say that.
No, I get it. Thank you.
They talk, commiserate a little longer — silly little words that act as a balm to her soul. Before long, her eyes grow heavy. She texts a goodbye, thanks him again. She pulls the pillow back in her grasp, breathes in deep, and closes her eyes.
This time, when she sleeps, the silence is a comfort.