Waking up for the forth time that night, Nediva gives up at any further pretense. She is not going to get any rest, not like this. Carefully, she rises out of the bed, doing her best not to rouse her husband. He sleeps like the dead, though the rise and fall of his chest assures her he isn’t actually dead. Slipping from the room, Nediva traverses the house. She checks on her children, all sleeping as heavily as her husband is. They have inherited the lucky genes, she decides, and is glad they don’t have to suffer through these nights as she does.
Perhaps it is the continuous hum, permeating everything from outside the window. Perhaps it is the flashing of light, which sometimes shines through a crack in their heavy curtains. Perhaps it is the knowledge that their lives can be uprooted any time their government decides and she will be powerless to defend any of them against it. Perhaps it is simply from knowing.
Knowing is hard, sometimes. She wonders how her life might be if she could have lived as obliviously as the rest of her family. Knowing that nothing has changed, she goes down to the kitchen. The days when this house would have held visitors from all over, where she would entertain with her husband’s cooking, where she had worn that little cream and beige dress that he had said fit her more beautifully than anything else had ever fit anyone. She has no idea if that dress still exists, or if it is in this house if it has. She fears to bring it up only to receive a vacant stare in response. She prefers to pretend where she can.
Nediva puts on the kettle and waits, wrapping her arms around herself. Her eyes trail up the curtain, stopping at the small crack between the two pieces of canvas. She can count the time between each flash of light. Three seconds. Five seconds. Nine seconds. Three. The pattern repeats, on an endless loop, forever. She wonders if the hum ever changes pitch. If she can even tell anymore.
She sits down at the kitchen table and waits for the water. The tea keeps her sane the rest of the night.