The whippoorwill’s prophetic melody echoed every night the week before Beth died. Evan hungered for one more moment, one more touch, one more of anything. In the midst of a bourbon escape, he called out her name. A desperate attempt by a longing heart. He listened – all he heard was the distant march of invading silence, to which he was defenseless. The mourners had gone. Family dispersed. Friends gave their hugs. The door shut behind each one, slowly emptying the house once shared by two, now one. Couldn’t he leave, too?
Would every night be so long? Would every moment be spent staring at a clock that mocked him with indifference? He caught a wisp of her fragrance as he stood to pour himself another glass of liquor. Her essence, like the light that was her life, was gone. Darkness remained and it could take what it wanted from him – he no longer cared. He stepped outside, onto the porch where they once shared slow dances and intimate whispers. “I love you,” she’d say, running delicate hands along his back. He wanted to be with her, wherever she was now. His eyes were sore and stinging from the endless crying. He leaned against one of the wooden porch posts for support.
A whippoorwill began to sing in the distance. Had it captured Beth’s soul? Was it returning for his? His footing was unsteady as he made his way down the steps. The grassy earth accepted his knees as he dropped before a starless sky. He felt his body weakening as the song of the whippoorwill became louder. Morning would soon be making its appearance. Evan closed his eyes, his arms hanging in defeat at his side. His heart slowed as the singing of the bird lulled him into a false sense of peace. He fell forward, absent of consciousness, his body surrendering to the whiskey at last.