He stares out the window. It's a quiet night. He can faintly see the snowflakes falling in the darkness, peppering the ground with white. His breath fogs up the glass. Silently, he takes in the scene.
She's not coming back, old man. There's no need to keep waiting for her. She's gone. You're here by yourself. No use hoping otherwise.
He glances at the digital clock beside his bed. The time shines bright red against the surrounding gloom: 2:15 AM. He doesn't have to be up for another four hours. Should he go back to bed and try to get some sleep? No, probably not. There'd be no point. Slowly he steps away from the window and walks out of his room.
In the kitchen he gets a cup out of one of the cabinets, fills it with water from the sink, and gulps it. Then sets the cup on the counter and walks down the hallway that leads to his son's room.
He stands in the doorway, watching his son sleep, observing the boy's back as it rises and falls rhythmically with his steady breathing. His blanket is carelessly gathered around him and his right arm is hanging off the edge of the bed. The left side of his face is buried into his pillow. Peaceful.
He stays there for a minute that seems to last an hour, before trudging back to the kitchen and getting a second drink of water. When he returns to his room, he sees his bed lying vacant in front of him and tries to imagine himself sleeping, like his son... peacefully. Perhaps that will make him want to go to sleep.
But it doesn't. So he goes over to his closet, rummages through it until he finds his denim jacket, and puts it on. His shoes are at his bedside, beneath the counter. He sits on the end of his bed to slip his feet into them. Grabbing a half-full pack of cigarettes and a lighter from the top of his dresser, he walks out.
The air outside is bitingly cold. It has to be about ten degrees. He stands on the porch, looking at the stars in the sky, taking notice of his breath as it flutters visibly from his mouth. He pulls his jacket tightly around his shoulders, and then lights up.
Hope is foolish. Hearts get broken. It's not worth it... the painful pattern of hope and then bitter disappointment. Hope is like a weed. It grows and grows until somethingor someonecuts it down. Does it keep growing after that? Maybe, for some. But for others the soil is too dry, to the point where nothing grows. Nothing exists but empty groundquestions without answers and actions with no reasons.
If only I could just dry up.
God, it's fucking cold out here. He turns toward the door, debating if he should go back in, but then decides against it. He doesn't feel like standing, so he sits on the porch and gazes at his snow-sprinkled lawn, smoking his cigarette, thinking
Laura. Where are you? What are you looking for? Are you happy now, without me? What about our son, Michael? Do you think of him? Do you care how he's doing? Did you care when you left?
What was going through your head? The desire for freedom? For warmth? That's what you said, remember? That you needed warmth because I was too "cold" for you. Well, was it worth it? Was it worth hurting me? Was it worth hurting Michael? Was it worth the anger and disappointment? Only you know.
Only you know.
He finishes his cigarette and flicks it into the snow, casually.
Maybe if I stay out here long enough, I'll freeze to death.
Hope can't grow if it's too cold.