He sat on the edge of the bed watching her sleep. Short dark hair against a cornflower blue pillow, small sun tattoo on her right shoulder, the sheet rising in rhythm with her breathing. He noticed that her face looked tired, even in sleep. He stood and walked to the picture hanging on the wall. It was a photo of the two of them in happier times, arms around each other, faces touching, smiles bright.
He turned and saw that she had woken and was walking toward him with her head down. As she came nearer she glanced toward him with a look that told him to say nothing. She was angry and he could feel the weight of it brush him as she passed by, no word, not another look. He left the room, listening to the sound of her movements as she prepared for her day.
He followed her into the kitchen and sat at the table watching as she poured her coffee, all the while still saying nothing to him. She stood with her back to him, staring out the window. He heard her say his name as she turned, her eyes puzzled and searching as she fixed her gaze on him for a few moments. Almost looking through him, trying to find the man she knew so well. Then tears, falling one after the other, her eyes never leaving his. Suddenly, she raised her arm and threw her cup against the wall, the sound breaking the silence between them. The cup splintering, tiny shards of glass settling on the floor beside his chair. He questioned his humanity as he watched her cry, head in hands. How could he continue to simply sit there, not go to her. He wanted to do nothing more than to hold her in his arms but he sensed that not even that would ease her anger.
She stood there for a while longer as the tears lessened and then reached for her car keys and walked out of the room. He wondered if he should follow or just let her be. As he heard the car door slam, he rose from the chair and ran to the door. He told himself he'd wasted enough time, he needed to tell her how much he loved her, that he would do anything to make her happy again. As he reached the car and slid in beside her, she said his name a second time. As she drove, she began to speak to him. Word upon word spilling from her. Declarations of pain and sorrow, of loss, confusion and anger. She berated him for what he had done. Begged him to understand her anger. At the end of her words she gave him comfort, telling him all she wanted was go back to what they'd had all along. He smiled, finally, hope blooming in his tired heart.
She stopped the car and got out. She began to walk, arms wrapped around herself, his footsteps following in hers. He noticed that his shadow fell over her, encompassing her. She stopped suddenly, looking down at the ground. It hadn't taken her long to find the stone among all the others. As he came nearer and stood behind her, he looked over her shoulder to see a flat stone buried in vibrant green grass. His name etched into cold gray. He could hear her whispering now. Different words this time. Words of love and goodbye.
She turned without looking at him and began to walk away. He wanted to follow, tried to follow, but was unable to move from the space beside his name. As he watched her leaving him, his shadow followed, stretching after her. Reaching and thinning out with every step she took. And in the end, a shadow of love, full and whole stretching from where he stood watching to where she walked, looking back over her shoulder.
[Once again, a story built around one word "love". I'm not sure why that word sent me in this direction but I am grateful to Lerrnst for sending me there.]