The door opens and then shuts with a loud bang, shaking the walls of our tiny apartment. I can hear him crashing around in the kitchen, slamming cupboard doors shut and stomping about. He must be in an especially terrible mood tonight. I keep my eyes closed.
It is 4am, but he is just getting home, probably exhausted and certainly cranky after dealing with work all day. I stay in bed for a moment, hoping he will just lay down and be quiet, but he doesn’t. So, I get up and creep my way out into the kitchen.
I don’t say anything at first. He is scowling, muttering to himself about who knows what, almost growling over the awful day he has had. He’s so focused on his bad mood that he doesn’t notice I’m there until I take a step into the yellow light.
“Some of us are trying to get some rest,” I scold softly. He pauses, lowering his arm from whatever he was reaching for before turning to me. His eyes are sharp enough to cut through me and I notice the dark circles that frame them. I feel bad for saying anything.
“Sorry,” his words come out unapologetic, slicing through the air like a knife, “I forgot that you like to have peace at night.”
I nod like I believe him, but I know the truth. He’s angry and he wants a fight and I’m an easy target. “Well, are you going to make me coffee so we can talk about the day you had or not?” I lift myself up to sit on the counter and raise an eyebrow at him. It’s dangerous to be challenging him when he’s in a mood like this, but I do it anyway.
He stays still, studying me with dark eyes, deciding what he’s going to do. Then, he reaches for two mugs and starts the coffee maker. When the calming drink has started to brew, he turns to face me, leaning on the counter and crossing his arms. We sit like that for a while, watching each other with weary eyes, surrounded by words we can’t say.
“So,” I begin, gripping the edge of the counter so hard that my knuckles turn white. If he notices, he doesn’t say anything. I try again, “What happened today?”
The smell of coffee wades through the air, filling the silence between us. Slowly, he pours the dark drink into the mugs and adds cream and sugar to mine without me asking. He adds nothing to his, for he likes it plain. When he is in a good mood, he’ll joke that his coffee is just like his soul; black, but tonight no jokes are made. He hands the mug to me and our hands touch, his are warm.
“It’s hard working in hell,” He reveals finally, his shoulders falling. He looks down into his drink, “You wouldn’t understand.”
I take a sip out of my mug, thinking of the halo I have stashed in the bottom of my drawer where he won’t find it.
He’s right, I wouldn’t understand, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.