Elise awoke earlier than she would’ve liked, rising with a jolt as tendrils of the sun began to make their way through the sheer curtains. Joby was still sleeping. She slipped out of bed and padded out of the bedroom as not to wake him. In the kitchen, she set about to make coffee, inhaling the rich scent of the grounds as the water reached a screeching boil.
It was the last day for her and Joby. A prickling anxiety in her throat and the heavy air of finality told her it was the last day. She sat at the kitchen table to leaf through yesterday’s mail mindlessly. The coffee was acidic and burned going down. Elise’s thoughts turned as they often did to the early days, when she and Joby would spend hours on the beach, observing the pale tourists with their ice cream, searching for blue crabs washed up along the shore, traipsing through the coastal scrub hand in hand. They had been young, then.
When had everything changed? She could never determine if it was gradually or all at once. But suddenly, they were here, eating their pasta in silence, arguing about the thermostat settings, and sleeping in the same bed but never touching save the brief obligatory goodnight kiss. It’s not that she hadn’t loved him. But when did it end?