The Reluctant Healer – by Charles Wright

He woke up suddenly, covered in sweat. He sat up and checked the time on his bedstead table clock. The red numerals said three AM. Not surprised at the time he lay back on the pillow and tried to get to sleep again. It was this way every night since she had gone. He would do everything he could think of to try and exhaust himself with work during the day, hoping it would lead to a sound sleep without the awful dreams he had every night. His efforts had been in vain so far. Try as he might he tossed back and forth in his bed unable to get back to sleep. The guilt he felt over losing her in a stupid horseback riding accident haunted his dreams. If he had just stopped her from using that outdated riding helmet she still might be here he thought. There had been times since the accident that he did not feel like going on. He had flirted with ending the pain but for some unknown reason to himself he carried on.

It did not help that her cat insisted on climbing up on the bed and sleeping next to his feet as it had done when she was here. It only served to remind him of the pain of her passing and how much he missed her presence. He finally gave up and crawled out of bed still weary and lacking the deep, dream free sleep he craved. Her cat got up when he did, stretching and then leaping off the bed looking for the food it knew he would soon be putting out for it. He should be grateful he thought since it was the only companion he could tolerate since he chose to shut himself off from the rest of the world. It was utterly nonjudgmental and returned love without question. Better than humans he mused. He stumbled his way into the kitchen, grabbed a can of cat food, and popped the top off the can, dumping its contents into the cat’s food dish and setting it down on the floor. Then he made himself a large mug of instant coffee hoping the infusion of caffeine would boost his sagging energy level. He leaned against the kitchen counter, sipping the strong, black coffee, waiting for the daily call from his brother that he knew would come shortly.

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