WELL, TREAT ME LIKE THE SEA
Nell almost changes her mind.
It’s while she’s getting dressed, pulling her jeans on and calling out to Josh—”Have you seen my lace top, you know, the white one?“—with no answer. She thinks, then, that Bryce can wait, and the world can wait, because she’s so tired, she doesn’t sleep much anymore. She knows that he doesn’t, either.
(and when she wakes up she reaches out a hand and her fingers slide over the comforter, his made-up side of the bed, so her smile falls from her lips and she turns over, buries her face into the pillow, thinks that maybe if she sleeps a little longer she’ll wake up to him.)
But she arrives five minutes early, orders her coffee black and tries not to think about how he orders it the same way. Instead she thinks about Bryce, which isn’t much better.
Mend your husband’s broken family, and she wrinkles up her nose when she remembers. As though she has any interest in weaving together the people who’ve hurt Josh, because Bryce is not any different from his father or grandfather or any of the people in his life who’ve left more scars than she could heal. But she tries, even now while he’s in jail and she’s out here, waiting for his brother to arrive. She can imagine him saying it in her head, heard big brother's gonna be away for a while.
Bryce expects sympathy—he should know better.
She hits the home button on her phone and the lock screen lights up—10:10, he’s late—and just as quickly she clicks the power button to darken it, along with the picture of her husband.
Five minutes, she decides. Five minutes and she will leave, she will go shopping, she will visit a friend, but she will not go home to an unmade bed and no one waiting up for her.