Here is a sneak peak of Natalie Enright’s White Matter, a story of love and loss, which will be published in our Spring 2013 issue. Natalie read the piece at the release party for Forum‘s Fall 2012 issue last Friday, video from which can be viewed below.
His alarm sounds loudly. She barely reacts. She was already awake. The sound of waves crashing outside their window and wind swirling reminds her of a childhood memory; a day at the beach when she lost her beloved stuffed animal. The memory ends as soon as it begins. It was just an image of a little girl in a bathing suite crying next to a woman holding her hand. The smell of brine precedes the sun peeking through the open window of the tiny room. The smell comes through the screened window down the bedroom wall across the carpeted floor and up the mattress lying on the floor, up the other wall and out the window back to the ocean. She is never up this early.
He exhales as he lifts the blanket off his body and then lifts himself up and to the edge of the bed, then turns the alarm off on the floor. The blanket folds over back towards her and a breeze from the open window kisses her exposed thigh. He stands up and leaves the room quietly. She throws the cover over herself and slips underneath. The bed is cold without him. Her body follows a current of sheets moving towards the foot of the bed. She finds a spot still warm from where he was lying and rests her body in the space he left behind. She is listening to him getting dressed and then him moving his things down the hallway to the front door. She wonders if he noticed that she was awake. She feels the undertow of her sensitivities and hopes it will pass and lead back to sleep. Instead she resurfaces to the edge of the blanket at the head of the bed to listen to him leave. He opens the door and carefully carries two bags with him. His keys jingle as he turns the lock and then she listens to his footsteps fade away. It’s too early to say goodbye.