Another Long Night

The gate came unhinged that night; wind blowing on wood; metal against metal; the noise it made. Swinging back and forth while an alley cat moaned and a truck in need of a muffler started up. A cold breeze blew through the windows.

He sat in the sun room as he often did at this time of night. Listening. Looking out into the dark, one streetlight glowed dimly. As for listening, it had now become silent. No wind, or truck, just silence. He appreciated the silence.

His wife came from down the hall. Older now; in her younger days she could turn all the boy’s heads. Now she had a little weight to her, gray hair, makeup was no longer important. She started to turn on the television, he shook his head, she put the remote down and sat next to him on the sofa. She held his hand. Patted it. He liked that.

She knew it was a matter of time. From day to day he would forget who she was. Her name, their relationship, everything gone. He’d just sit there while she cleaned up after him, cooked his meals, counted out his meds. Part of her wished that day would come soon. When they would part. Fifty-five years was a long time. However, the last three made it feel like thirty more. She was tired.

And so they sat there on the couch. He talked to her about his trips to the moon and Mars. Told her he’d been hiding something from her, that he was now a secret agent.

She held his hand and listened to his wild stories, these concoctions made up in his head. Every day a different story. She just listened. Just listened. ‘Cause in his mind he’d been to Mars, he was a secret agent.

The latch on the gate outside rattled in the wind. It was going to be another long night.

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