Water ran in rivulets down the mould infested wall. The cold and damp sat heavy on her chest causing a wracking cough. Time had ceased to have meaning in this place, all she could do was watch the water on its inevitable journey and restart the count that the cough had interupted. She was not sure what she was counting up to, but it helped pass the time. There was only one thing she could count on, the regular visit from Him.
He never said anything, but she always knew when he was there. Stood at the door to her cell He would watch quietly, she had, at first stared with defiance at the door, meeting his unseen gaze. Over time her gaze had begun to waver, de-hydrated and hungry she felt her resolve weaken. She still felt shame burning bright as she recalled her complete break down, begging him for food and water, promising him anything in return. She had meant every word and had sobbed with relief as she was rewarded with a little water.
Her mind wandered, again she stood at the boot of her car, reaching in, to place box containing the Christmas present she had bought for her son. At the thought of James she curled herself into a ball and let the tears flow. When she regained control, she started the count again, one, two, three... fifty eight, fifty nine..... the box again, into the boot, the shadow of movement, a phantom behind her reaching around her..... seventy three, seventy four..... a sharp pain in her neck before everything went dark.
One hundred and eight, one hundred and nine.... another racking cough that affected her whole body but this time not the count. Time continued to pass, her internal count continued as she watched the water on its journey down the wall, always the same journey... two hundred and three, two hundred and four... opening up the boot of her car, picking the box for James, excited at the thought of his face on Christmas morning. A flicker as a shadow passes behind her, a sharp pain and then blackness.
He stands at the door, watching her as she sobs, curled into a ball. She counts out loud, this is new and therefore interesting. He loves to watch his girls, his favourite so far is this one, she took longer to break. There is no doubt now that she is broken and he feels sad, he fingered the blade in his hands and considers when he will sever the connection. As sad as he feels there is also excitement at the prospect of ending this relationship in his own special way.
The counting has stopped now and he knows she is aware of his presence. He stands there remembering all of the good times they have shared together, the silence is a comfortable one, both at ease with each other, there is no need for words any more. Now in this moment he realises that the time is now. She must realise this as well, because although he has not moved yet, she has moved into the corner and is whimpering quietly.
He has been watching her for a while, this time it feels different, a peculiar feeling that makes her skin crawl. She crawls to the corner, seeking refuge, she is whispering James name over and over again. She is too weak to prevent the inevitable, she knows this, but the protective mantra of her sons name gives her a small measure of comfort and hope. It is not enough, the door opens and hope disappears with a blinding light.
He enters the room, watching her cover her eyes, he knows the pain she will be feeling in this the first light she has seen in their two month relationship. He is not worried she will see his face, he wants her to see him. The last thing she will see, will be the love in his eyes, he knows this will give her the ultimate peace.
He felt great, it was a good day to be alive. The sun was shining, bright, in the sky, as he walked up the path to his front door. He put the key in the lock and as he opened the door he smiled in rememberence of that final moment, his last goodbye to his love, the acceptence in her eyes. He was bought back to reality by a whirlwind of energy flying into his arms “Daddy, you're home!!”