In the quiet hours, I open my eyes as if I’ve actually heard Seth say the words. I slip out of the sheets and steal down the hall. They all sleep, their sweaty hair matted to their heads. I pull the doors almost shut as I pass, not willing to actually click them for fear the tiny noise will rouse them. I know just what he will say before he dies.
I want to get my numbers in, my words, my goal. I have the whole next three chapters in my mind, waiting, like actors outside the curtain, itching to say their lines.
But the clock hands move faster than my fingers can type. Marina won’t murder Seth today. Faith is at my side, sucking her thumb and shoving her empty sippy cup at me. I hover my fingers over the keyboard but Marina isn’t done arguing with her father and she still has to find the knife.
I should start the coffee.
The day goes on, the hours pass. I do the laundry and pay the bills. Around three, I think of Seth’s last words again… but I can’t remember exactly how they went. I turn the computer on to try to flesh them out, but Joey comes running in with a bloody knee. When I’ve put the bandages away, Heather needs help with her math.
After dinner, Mike wants me to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie.
It’s getting late.
I watch the clock, I want to sleep. If I don’t go to bed now, I’ll miss my morning alarm.
“Whatsa matter?” Mike says, pulling me closer. “The kids are sleeping, it’s fine.”
The next morning I slide out from under his arm, my eyes heavy. I rush to the computer and open the document.
Marina grabs the knife, plunges it into his chest, but there is only silence.
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