There’s no light. I can’t see them, but I can hear them. I need to leave.
It was going to be another late night at the office, but the members of the Board, for once, simply agreed with each other. So I went home early thinking I would surprise Alice. Not with flowers, or chocolates. I would say, “Let’s go to dinner.” And she: “Oh god, we haven’t gone out in ages.” She would smile. I would smile.
But the house lights were all off — she wasn’t home. Alice couldn’t have been expecting me, so it was fair enough. My plans changed: I would cook dinner for her. Only the fridge had nothing but milk and mouldy cheese, the cupboards nothing but a box of oats. But then I was the only one of us who enjoyed cooking, and you can’t cook when you’re always working late.
I left for the shops.
The house lights were still off when I returned. I had enough groceries with me for a week of cooking now that my late nights were over. And Alice would be home soon, I was sure. I chopped and oiled the vegetables, turned the oven to 180°. My office clothes were uncomfortable for cooking in, but with the oven heating I had time to change.
My hand stopped on the our bedroom’s light switch. I could hear them. They were soft, so whisper soft, but I could hear. The lights were off. I left without turning them on.