The sun shook its cotton cloud cover and light washed into room like it had been spilled from a bucket. Matthew's gaze was drawn to the window, seeing a pair of young rabbits playing forced a smile. The sun had warmed their fur and feeling the sweet spring grass beneath their paws; they pranced and cavorted with joy for life itself.
He was still smiling as he looked back towards the bed. She lay there asleep, Laura, his wife ... Laura his love.
The sunlight warmed her skin, giving it colour, throwing highlights and shade into the fiery mass of auburn curls that framed her face.
Laura his love. He reached out and touched her hair, remembering when they met. It wasn't love at first sight, as it had seemed with one or two of his previous affairs. This was a slow burn. She had caught his eye, they smouldered. They parted... he'd walked away.
But she'd left a hook in, and he needed to know more. His heartbeat quickened, realizing that he wanted to know everything., and he'd returned not knowing if she'd still be there, but found her waiting... expecting him.
The love grew rapidly, solidly. Marriage followed and the children arrived. None of it planned or questioned, it all fell into place before them, following a natural path.
He didn't know if dwelling upon their life was going to help him to leave her, or make it harder.
Slender, manicured fingers curled around the door, holding it for a few seconds before it opened just enough for her to slip inside. Susan gave a quick nervous glance towards her sleeping sister and whispered "are you ready Matt?" She extended her hand, he took it.
And so he left Laura, his love, stealing one last look before shutting the door gently behind him.
As Matt and Susan passed out of the building, the staff in the reception averted their gaze and lowered their voices.
Outside he saw Shaun holding hands with the children. The boy aimlessly screwing his toecap into the gravel path, the girl, transfixed by the rabbits on the lawn. Shaun threw Susan a sorrowful look and the children ran towards Matthew. He saw flashes of Laura in their faces and scooped them up into his arms. The girl looked over his shoulder towards the empty doorway and asked;
"Is mummy... sleeping forever?"
Matthew had practiced this moment all morning yet the rising emotion robbed him of the ability to speak.