Black Night Friday

A short piece of writing that depicts the everyday life of two lovers with an unforgettable past. The more the try to live their present normal, the more memories starts coming back in place, an arch enemy of her husband being freed from prison, let to roam the streets again.

Waking up, I switched on the bed lamp and checked the time; it was 12 am in the morning, and Joe hadn't been back from work yet, and I was starting to get worried something bad might have happened to him. He never goes home this late, not unless he's got another job to do for a client. This is unusual, but I can't just sit here in bed, so after checking every room on the floor, upstairs, and in the basement, I decided to go downstairs and grab a bowl of popcorn while waiting for the hike to come. It's pretty late, only 12 o'clock according to the time on the wall clock on my way to the kitchen, but I know it doesn't take long for someone like Joe to get home at this hour.

As I step off the last step of the staircase, I see a dark figure standing in the doorway of the kitchen, and the lights flicker on; I freeze at the slot remembering the gates were locked, or were they? I don't even remember again. The person turns around and sees me as well. It's none other than Joe himself. I feel my heart leap into my throat and try to swallow down some panic. He looks horrible like he's had an extremely hard day and hasn't eaten anything for days. His eyes are bloodshot red, and his skin is paler than usual. I've seen him looking worse before, and even though it pains me to admit it, I guess I've become used to seeing him like this. "Joe?" I ask. My voice shakes slightly." I'm sorry," is all he says in response. He looks defeated. Like he wants nothing more than to run away and hide somewhere where nobody will find him. But there are no safe places anymore. All that's left now is us and our shared past.

"What did they do to you?" The question comes out without really thinking about it, but before I can take it back, my mouth has already spoken. I don't want to be rude, but I also don't want to talk about something I'd rather leave behind forever. He doesn't answer right away and instead just stares at the floor. The silence is unbearable, and I don't know what to do except wait. After about 30 seconds, he finally speaks. "Can we please not talk about that? I promise I'll tell you everything when I at least have something to nibble on. Just… can we make some popcorn first? I think it's too early in the morning to go to sleep." His voice is soft and broken. I nod. If Joe doesn't want to talk right now, then that's fine with me. He deserves to have his privacy.

We end up sitting side by side on Joe's couch, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around how I ended up living with him. Not for the first time since this whole thing started, my thoughts drift toward what would've happened if I hadn't met him at that bar that night. Would things have turned out any differently? I'm positive I wouldn't have known Joe. I probably would never have even given him the time of day. And yet, here he is. Sitting beside me, eating our second bowl of popcorn. We've been silent for a while now, and I can tell he feels uncomfortable. His movements are small and careful. Every now and again, he glances over at me, and I know he must be wondering the same thing I am.

Why me? I look back at him, and he seems almost relieved to have company. When he catches me staring, he gives me a weak smile, and I know it means more to him than he lets on. I turn my attention back towards the TV and try not to think about it. It isn't until about halfway through the movie that he speaks up. "Hey, babe?" He starts to sound hesitant, unsure if he should continue speaking or not. "Have you ever heard of a man named Amania?" I don't need clarification because, yes, I have. "Amania, the one who ran the mob? How do you know about him?" I ask in surprise. "Because," he pauses, "you helped save him from prison."

A few months ago, I would have been absolutely thrilled to help save anybody from jail. But now I just feel sick inside. Because I know exactly where Mikey is going. Somewhere deep inside, I knew it was coming. And yet I let myself believe he would be alright. "I did what?" "You stopped him from killing everyone in that warehouse."My hands start to shake. "Amania's alive?" I ask. A sob breaks free from my chest, and tears spring to my eyes. "Yes, he is." "Oh God," I bury my face in my hands. This cannot be happening. I'm afraid of being wrong, afraid of what could happen if I'm right, but mostly I fear the worst. I thought I'd been prepared for all of this, but I wasn't. "Do you know why?".

There's a pause before he answers. When I finally look up again, I see him looking straight ahead. He opens his mouth, ready to say something when the phone rings. Joe's head immediately snaps up to look at it, and when his eyes meet mine, he nods. He gets up from the sofa and walks quickly into the dining area. I hear his voice come through the speaker before he returns to my side." Hello? Yeah. Uh-huh. Well, then I'll see you tomorrow." His hand lands on my shoulder, and I instantly freeze. There's no way he didn't notice the way my body tensed up. I force myself to relax.

To be continued...


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