This kind of happiness wasn’t made to last. Sandra’s head nestled on my collarbone; the mattress comforted us like a baby in its mother’s arms. Nothing but the two of us existed outside of this moment until the demonic cry of the alarm clock shattered the harmony.

“Don’t make yourself late for work darling,” Sandra said.
“I wish I could just lie like this all day.” I pulled her closer to me.
“I know, me too.” She wriggled out of my grip and turned over. “But you know what’ll happen if you turn up late to work.”

The irony of those words still cuts me even now. Beneath the covers with my eyes closed I’d been someone else. I didn’t have three jobs to work, Sandra wasn’t sick and all of our debts were behind us. If I’d stayed in bed would any of this have happened? When my body leaves the bed, it starts the timer, and I know too well the sequence of events that follows. Only 8 hours to go.

Sandra had gone back to sleep when I went in to say goodbye. She stirred when I kissed her forehead.

“Bye sweetie, don’t work too hard,” she whispered. I laughed at that. She had no idea. “What time will you be home?”
“About 7ish. Quick stop for dinner, then I’m doing the 9 o’clock delivery shift.”

My fingers lingered on the tips of hers before I pulled away. She watched me cross the room, propped up on the bed with her elbow. She looked so innocent and perfect first thing in the morning.

“I love you,” she said.
“Me too.”

Think about the last time you kissed your wife, girlfriend, or any one close to you. Think about the last time you held them. Told them you loved them. Imagine that was the last time. Do you wish you’d done it differently? Said something more profound? Eyes fixed on the screen, I see myself leave the room that day knowing I’ll never get my chance again. I know, but can do nothing to stop it as I’m forced to watch my life crash around me. Again.