You turn off the light and snuggle into bed, closing your eyes. Your eyes open to check the time, only to see the bright red numbers on your alarm clock reading a slightly different time than before. You turn back over, and the cycle repeats itself for a few hours.
“Fuck it,” you say under your breath when the alarm reads 3:05. You turn on your lamp and begin digging through the drawer on your nightstand, hoping you’d come across some leftover sleeping pills.
Your hand grazes something smooth and flat. You pull it out of the drawer only to find that it’s an old photo of Marcus. You stare in awe at the Polaroid image. His bright blonde hair was neatly combed to the side and he was sitting on a bright red tricycle. You remember getting it for him for his birthday that year, and he was so excited to finally get to ride it up and down the walkway.
A smile crosses your lips as the memory replays in your head. It was a different time back then. You were happily married and full of life. You felt like you could take on the world.
The day your husband left was the day everything changed.
You became reserved, refusing to leave the house and talk to anyone. You began smoking again, a habit you had dropped once you had Marcus. You had many jobs over the years after your husband walked away, all of them minimum wage, but none of them stuck. You hadn’t realized how much you needed him.
Marcus was ten when it happened and didn’t really know how to process it at the time. By thirteen, Marcus began rebelling. He started smoking and drinking and his perfect grades began to drop. His only interests seemed to be playing violent video games and getting high to block out the world. Now, at sixteen, he only really talks to you when he needs something.
You toss the photo back into the drawer. You wanted nothing more than to go back to those days.
Story by Emma Glasgow