I wake up because I can hear the keys fumbling in the lock on the front door. I hear the metal against metal as the key scratches around the knob, the jangling of the ring as it hits the cement of the stoop. I stay in bed, curled on my side, these sounds are familiar.
I don’t even realize I’m holding my breath, until I release it slowly as the bolt unlocks. The front door creaks open, his feet shuffle across the wood floor of our entry way, then the door closes with the thud of a body falling against it. I’m shivering from the inside.
My eyes are adjusted to the dim light of the bedroom, so I can see him clearly leaning in the jamb of the doorway. His breathing is uneven, same as his stride and he stumbles toward the chair in the corner. I lay still, consciously trying to keep my breathing steady. I’m playing opossum, like I’m asleep. He slides off his shoes and struggles out of his shirt and for a moment I think he’s going to pass out in the chair. But he doesn’t. He runs his hand through his hair and his forearm under his nose. He pulls his pants off over his feet and makes his way into the bed.
I feel the warmth of his side against the back of my spine. Just before he gives into sleep he pulls me into his arms. It twists me up inside that he's holding onto me so tightly at the same time he’s slipping away, and I’m powerless to stop him.
Note. Predates show's time sequence.