The Missing Hours

“Hopley ‘has a story to tell,’ says lawyer.”

I hate the way he just sits over there on the couch, not saying a thing.  It’s been three days now; not a word.  The birds were singing on the morning we met, too many and too loud for pre-dawn birds—it’s as if they knew well the silence that would inhabit this small space we’ve since found ourselves in.  They tried to overcome our stillness with their song but they failed: it is so quiet here, so deathly quiet.

I’ll forgive him though.  He’s probably scared; he’s had his thumb in his mouth most of the time, feigning sleep, clutching tight the same blanket he held onto that morning.  He won’t look me in the eyes.  He won’t eat.  I’m worried about him.

I could watch him for hours; I have watched him for hours.    A silent, sleeping child—if only he knew the fuss he’s kicked up.  His picture has been posted all over and I have trouble reconciling that face to this.  I light another cigarette; he coughs and for a moment opens his eyes open to a squint.

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