If I Could Be With You Tonight by Graham Wynd

The scene was perfect. Hollywood could not do it justice.

A quiet house at the end of the lane. Two young people on their own. The baby they were sitting had been tucked in long ago, sleeping in chubby-fisted peace.

And the scary movie – somewhat snowy despite all attempts to adjust the antenna – had just enough chills to bring them closer together on the sofa, though the monster from outer space was vanquished in the end by the plucky cooper and the sprightly clerk. America was safe once more.

Shy smiles gave way to an arm slipped slowly around a shoulder. Giggles and glances exchanged and then that first sweet kiss—long anticipated, dreamed even, but all the more magical because now it was real. It would have been difficult to picture a more perfect scene.

If only it had been me there on that couch.

But I had to watch from the frosted window, behind the shrubbery that swayed in the autumn chill. I should have been in there, feeling so warm and kissing so sweetly in the glow of the television’s snowy blankness. Soda bottles half-empty, forgotten on the low table, stood sentinel as if to protect you from whatever monsters waited in black and white. Not all monsters are from outer space.

The flickering screen reminded me of the stuttering images in my mind, all those nights alone in my bed, imagining how it would be. How it was all for me, and yet here it was, not me. Not me.

You without me.

I cocked the gun