Cecilia awoke to the sound of a gentle whimper coming from the foot of her bed. She did not get up, or even open her eyes. She only hugged the fluffy cotton sheets closer to her body.
Part of her hoped only a few more minutes in bed would help clear the miasma of post-drunken nausea from her head.
Another low, soft whimper cooed out from the end of the bed.
Cecilia sighed and opened her eyes, defeated. Stretching her arms above her head, she rolled over to the extra-spacious side of the bed to look at Alex's alarm clock. 5:53 p.m.
Cecilia propped herself up on the palms of her hands, allowing the blankets to fall to her waist. The mid-January drafts of cold air instantly invaded her torso, causing her to shiver.
The little Pomeranian sitting at the end of the bed wagged its tail as it made eye contact with Cecilia. "C'mon, little pooch," Cecilia said, getting out of bed.
She strode toward the bedroom door, but stopped as she approached the window. From across her backyard and down to the next street, she spotted a street lamp.
Through its golden light shining in the darkness, she could see the otherwise invisible snowflakes fluttering gracefully throughout the night.
Each one seemed to delicately sparkle as it passed through the light. Several tears fell to the carpet near Cecilia's feet.
The impatient huffing and puffing of the tiny dog called her from behind. She wiped her eyes with her pajama sleeve, then continued out the door, through the hallway, and into the kitchen.
She set about making a pot of coffee, preparing the water and grounds in the machine before flipping its switch.
As the coffee pot began to wheeze and pop away, she bent over and took the empty, small dog dish on the floor.
Opening a small cupboard next to the sink, she withdrew a bag of kibble and filled the bowl. She placed it on the floor next to the delighted little animal, which happily wagged its tail.
As the dog devoured its food, Cecilia watched each drop of coffee fill the pot.
Somewhere, out there in the cold night, Alex's body was rotting away in the ground.