After the Break

After the Break
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I heard a horrifying noise, as if our home had been hit by lightning. Through the dust I saw the building had cracked in two, a chasm straight through the middle of our home. The first earthquake in ten years. We were lucky. I was in the study and he was in the dining room, at opposite ends of the house, otherwise I might have lost my Jack.

Looking through the dust that had sprung up we waved to one another. I shouted to him, asking if he was hurt, but I could see his huge smile that he was fine and was obviously relieved I was okay. We tried to reach each other, across the break, but although our fingertips were within millimetres of one another we never quite touched and Jack said it was too dangerous to try to jump. He told me not to worry.

Every single day we delayed the chasm grew a foot wider and he moved further away from me. It’s a bit strange now the gap has grown wider; it means we can’t shout to one another anymore so I haven’t spoken to him for weeks. He wrote me a letter which took two weeks to arrive because of the poor postal system. In it he told me he’s always preferred that side of the house. Most of his belongings are over there and he’s always viewed this half as my bit of the house. He tells me he’d like to stay over there for a while.

I don’t plan to join Jack over there. I understand why he’s attached to his kitchen and studio and he will understand I can’t leave my study and books. It would be impossible to get them across the break and half a house really isn’t big enough for both of us.

We’ve decided the postal system is too tardy. So now the chasm has finally stopped widening we rigged up a pull wire with a bottle and send each other messages every day. Jack tells me he’s applied for citizenship there and that he’s happy. He understands my reasons for not wanting to join him. We’ve always had different hobbies and interests so it’s not as though we lived in one another’s pockets before. We understand the need to make time for ourselves, as well as each other, it’s the foundation on which our marriage was built.

I know we can survive this. We still talk. I mean we correspond rather than talk face to face, but I can see Jack waving at me from across the way and I wave back and it doesn’t feel that different really. I’m as happy as I’ve always been. Nothing has changed for me. He is still perfect in every way. I know he’s still there for me and always will be. I love him and he loves me. The nature of our relationship hasn’t changed at all. It’s just a different geography. Nothing will ever separate us, even when apart, we won’t be divided.

Shirley Stephenson

About Shirley Stephenson

Shirley completed an MA in Creative Writing in 2015 at York St John’s University where she won the Beyond the Walls prize and has had a pamphlet of short stories published called Leave Me My Monsters. She is currently undertaking a PhD at York St John’s University looking at uncanny literature. She has been part of the editorial team for the York Literary Review since 2016.

Shirley completed an MA in Creative Writing in 2015 at York St John’s University where she won the Beyond the Walls prize and has had a pamphlet of short stories published called Leave Me My Monsters. She is currently undertaking a PhD at York St John’s University looking at uncanny literature. She has been part of the editorial team for the York Literary Review since 2016.

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