‘The Long Lie In’ by Matthew Wright
As I lay in the dark with you, my love, at my side, our old digi-clock struggles to remember that the new day starts in zeros. Funny old thing. Today was our best day in years. No low blows in-front of the boys, only laughter. An echo of what we were like before. I’m listening to your breaths, waiting for you to drift off. No poorly-hid tears or furious sighing tonight, only peace. Content.
In just a few short hours, I’m going to ruin everything, and all I can think to say is sorry.
The hardest part for me, my love, comes now, my own sleep. I’m hesitating, holding onto the day, holding onto consciousness. My heart, my head, they’re well aware of what the morning brings, and they’re stalling.
The bacon’s still in the fridge, yeah?
I know that you wouldn’t have stood for this, which is why you don’t get to choose. You cannot protest in sleep. Tonight, you and the boys treated me like the richest man alive, hearts and stomachs full, that’s how I want to be remembered. I know it’s not who I really am, but you can’t blame a man for wanting that.
I’m a good man. I know I am. Down deep.
It’ll be painless. I read about it online, takes less than an hour to fill the whole house. You won’t even know it’s there, the mono. The bacon will cover it, mask it. You’ll think it’s just me, having myself an early breakfast, you’ll ignore it. We’ll all go together.
I know you’d ask why. It was the debt, my love, it was like a wild dog, gnawing at my leg. It caught up with me, ruined me. Tonight was the last of it, all that was left, a final bang, a send off.
It was wonderful tonight.
No more begging for loans, or empty Christmases, no more shame and guilt, hand-me-downs or charity lunches. Tomorrow we’ll be free from all that. Tomorrow will bring with it only peace and the promise of a long lie-in, like the one’s you’ve always wanted.
A rest you all deserve.
Matthew R. Wright is a British writer and teacher. He has written for numerous podcasts including Fire-Master Dr Flame, The Merry Beggars, and Someone Dies In This Elevator. His short story Re-Play was produced for broadcast by the BBC in 2020 as an audio drama. Additionally, he runs the audio production company DarkTreeAudio. Follow his thoughts @WrightRMatt.