“It was for the best,” he told himself for what must’ve been the hundredth time that week. Perhaps even that day.

He almost believed it, too.

And like every other 3AM, he comforted himself in the fact that he had been strong enough to cut out a toxic part of his life. It had kept him happy for a time, but he—his mind that is—could no longer afford its company. He praised himself for the feat and muttered false reassurances that softened the sting of guilt when he’d close his eyes and see her face in the darkness. When he’d search for her voice in a crowd of faceless men. When he’d wake up, and in that brief state between reality and dreams, he’d call out her name in an unfamiliar voice, but still one that undoubtedly belong to him.

“Give it time,” everyone told him.

But all time did was sweep past. Away, always away. And he was left to stare as the world continued to turn, while he sat in the corner of his room, at his usual desk, the same old coffee in his hands, and his terrible internet connection still giving out on him when he needed a distraction. Here, in his tucked away corner full of his life’s constants, the world was distant.

He wasn’t crying—hadn’t cried one bit that night or that morning either—but he might as well have been. Because god, it hurt. It didn’t help that she’d taken the dog, too. He loved that little ball of white fluff—and it loved him. And he didn’t know how, but his damned closet carried her scent. She didn’t even keep any clothes in there for fuck’s sake! So, here he was, prisoner in his own home. His corner, his one and only haven. But even he wasn’t perfectly sure of that. So, he avoided staring at anything for too long. His eyes stayed firmly on the window and that little cloth doll he’d hung on a badly hammered nail above it.

The doll was supposed to ward off rain. He didn’t believe that particular legend, of course, but he liked its smile. And on a spur of the moment decision, he’d made one. Now, as its smile stared back at him, he could only question what the hell he’d been thinking.

Clearly, he hadn’t been.

He watched it move for a long while, realizing how disturbing it seemed with that string tied around its neck and those black dots for eyes. He’d have to fix that when he got the chance. Along with the rest of his home that didn’t quite feel like a home. Perhaps he’d start with those too thick curtains. They were brown and very ugly. Much too gloomy, he decided, cracking a smile at himself.

And as he watched the sun reach its zenith from his window, unaware how much time had passed since he’d last moved, he gripped the mug in his hands a little tighter, before downing the contents in one go. It was cold and disgusting, but the taste woke him from his reverie.

Today, like all the rest, he’d continue on with his constants.

Until 3AM rolled around again—but he had adequate distraction now.

And unafraid, he stood, taking his first step away from his corner and his coffee and the staleness that had permeated the air with his constant occupancy over the last few weeks. He wasn’t quite ready to run with time again, but this was a start.


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