131 Hours of Silence

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By Amanda Donohue

It’s almost four in the morning. Our cat is meowing at the bathroom sink, willing it to turn on, unable to hear the acoustics that bounce off the tile walls and travel through the apartment. He’s deaf.

“Ugh, will you shut the hell up?” I groan, not sure why. He can’t hear me. He meows again, this last one seems to have more urgency to it. “Jesus Christ, I’m coming. God.” I get up, leaving the warmth of my sheets behind, and turn on the sink so the pain in the ass can have some water. He has plenty in his bowl. Why is he so spoiled?

I look at the circles under my eyes, they have been growing darker every night this week. It has been exactly 131 hours since she took her things out of her two drawers in our shared dresser. They’re still empty. It has been exactly 131 hours since she haphazardly took her shirts, dresses, and pants hanging in her side of the closet, and shoved them in her bag. It is still barren. It has been exactly 131 hours since she ripped her necklace off her neck, threw it in my face and stomped out the door.

It has been exactly 131 hours since she screamed “Fuck you,” and slammed the door behind her. The walls shook. Our picture shifted where it hung. I haven’t fixed it. I haven’t touched it. It still hangs there, as crooked as my life is.

Our cat gets his face out from under the faucet, and sneezes the water out of his nose. He looks up at me with bright green eyes. I used to laugh and say, “He’s your kid. He has your eyes.” She would pick him up and laugh, scratching behind his ears. “No, baby. He’s yours. Why else would he be so cute?” This was the kind of happiness that kept us afloat.

He is still staring at me, and when I look away he does that weird chirp like meow that cats do. It’s almost like he’s saying, “hey, pay attention to me.” I give him a quick rub behind the ears and shuffle back to bed. I step on her necklace. For 131 hours it’s been lying where it landed, after it came into contact with my cheek. The cold crescent moon pendant sticks to the bottom of my foot, and mine still dangles around my neck. Mine is inscripted with “to the moon,” and hers says, “and back.” Here I am, standing on the moon, waiting for her to bring me back.

I crawl back into my side of the bed. Hers hasn’t been touched since she left it, and her necklace is still on the floor. Our cat hops up on the bed and curls up on her pillow. He misses her as much as I do. He misses the way she would brush him daily, like I miss the way she would play with the loose strands of hair that would fall in my eyes. He misses the way she would talk to him, he liked watching her lips move. I miss the way she would whisper goodnight, she couldn’t sleep without saying it. He misses the way she would turn on the bathroom sink every time they went in there. Wherever she would go, he would follow. I miss the way she would bring me coffee in my favorite mug when I would be up late writing. I would follow her everywhere too.

But now it’s been 131 hours, and I have no idea where she is. My eyes burn from the tears, and my throat is hoarse from the screaming. No one is here to hear me, and our cat is deaf.

It’s been 131 hours of silence. Now I know how he feels. I wonder if he misses the way she says “I love you” if he never heard her voice. I do. After 131 hours,I pick up the phone.

It rings three times.

“What.” I’m so surprised she is awake, I don’t even know what to say.

“Our son misses you.” Silence. “Please come home.”