It was the middle of the night. 3:13 am to be exact.
But that didn’t matter. She’d woken from her bed, shared with him, and sat straight up in bed, in that quiet, graceful way she had that didn’t wake him. She’d brushed the sleep out of her eyes, what little was left from the dream she’d been having, and tiptoed out of their bed, into the bathroom attached to their room. She’d rinsed her face, and dried it with the shirt he’d had laid out for work the next morning. She’d started to leave the room, but on second thought leaned back and grabbed the locket that had been lying in the otherwise empty soap-dish on the bathtub ledge.
Then she’d walked out of their room, down the stairs to the basement, to their “laundry room”, which was more of a washer, drier, and make-shift clothes line strung along the ceiling, in the back corner of their basement, next to the litter box. Next to the washer, she’d grabbed her bag, the one with the reminders of other nights like this sewn, stapled, and pinned on.
The cat was sitting on the floor by her feet staring up at her. He had a curious look on his face, seemed to be saying “And where are you going? Aren’t I invited?” She’d bent down, picked him up and held him in front of her, had said “No, my little Prince, you stay here this time. It’s just me tonight.” Then she’d kissed him, and put him back down on the ground, where he remained, staring up at her still. “And what about him? He’s still up there sleeping, you know.” She’d ignored him, walked back up the stairs, back to their room, back to where he was in bed sleeping.
She’d walked silently into the closet, the one that creaked if you opened it a certain way, and grabbed the first few things she saw hanging limply, had thrown them into the bag, and walked back out of the closet. She’d opened her dresser and done the same thing, grabbing haphazardly whatever her hands touched first.
And then she’d shut the bag, walked over to the bed, kissed him on the forehead, “Exsisto tergum , meus diligo.” And then she’d slipped the locket under his pillow, walked away, walked out of the room.
And then she’d left, walked outside, into the cold night, gotten into her car, and drove towards the interstate. She didn’t know where she was going, or when or if she’d be back, but she was going. It was just one of those feelings, the kind that wakes you up at 3:13 on a Thursday morning, the kind that gets you out of bed and just takes you where it wants to go.
The kind that ends with a post card signed “votum vos erant hic - wish you were here.”