Ben stepped out of the cave. It was morning, but how early? The birds were still singing, he remembered that this meant that it was early. He had looked at his watch to check, but of course it was smashed. Lying on the floor was the rock he had used. He had placed his phone on the ground before slamming the rock into it, but somehow he hadn’t wanted to take his watch off to smash it. He thought he had been more attached to his phone, but actually it was his watch that was harder to destroy. Or was it that he wanted a clear reminder of what he had done? Was it that?
The ground had got colder than he had thought it would at night, and harder. It couldn’t have actually got harder, he must have just become less comfortable with it. He had always loved his bed, loved not just to sleep but to lie, turn and envelop himself in it. Would it continue to be the hardest thing to give up? Beth didn’t even come close.
He’d had woken up. Now he couldn’t remember if a noise had stirred him, but he was sure he was close to waking because of his realisation, his realisation that now that he had smashed his phone he had absolutely no way of contacting Beth again, or she him. He didn’t know her number, only his phone did. Those twenty years had been bonded together so fragilely by habit. The fact that he and she had kept turning up at the same house, the fact they kept their phones on. The fact they continued to behave how the other one had expected them to behave. But she had broken that, she hadn’t done that. And now neither had he.