Darkness drips down the walls like pudding, to land in thick puddles on the bare floor; slowly oozing across the room as the sun says its goodbyes.
I stare out the window, watching the purple gloom gather and wonder where you are. Is it somewhere familiar, or one of those new places that just feel like home? Why did you even leave?
I didn’t mean to say those things, and I certainly didn’t mean to punch you in the face, but sometimes you just make me so mad. You always point out every flaw, whether mine or the worlds, and sometimes it’s just too much. Would it kill you to smile? Just once?
I turn and survey the ruined room, furniture broken, a bowl of glass marbles knocked to the floor, the tiny globes scattered to the room’s four corners. You left in such a hurry that you didn’t even stop to grab a coat, despite the rain that was pounding the sidewalks outside. I hope you didn’t get too wet, or catch cold. You always get sick so easily.
My heart breaks as my eyes land on what’s left of the chair – my grandmother’s chair. The sight wouldn’t hurt me as much if you were here beside me, to grumble about the meaninglessness of material possessions and remind me how vain I am. Yes, if you were here then things wouldn’t seem so bleak and dark.
But you’re not here, and you haven’t been here for so long. Days, weeks… I don’t know how long it’s been. The pink letter stapled to the front door says I haven’t paid the rent for two months, but my dusty soul screams as though you’ve been gone for years.
I drop to the floor, hugging my knees and lean against the wall, closing my eyes as the nightly ritual of door pounding begins. One of these nights they’ll come in and evict me; carry me and my broken dreams out and heap them on the cracked sidewalk outside. But they can’t, because what if you return and you can’t find me? If I’m not where you left me then how hard will you really look?
I hear her voice through the worn wood, shrill and tight, imitating my mother. Begging me to open up, to speak with her for just a moment. I can come home with her, after all, there isn’t even electricity here anymore.
I move my hands to cover my ears and squeeze my eyes tightly shut, blocking this imposter from my mind completely. I’d have believed it was her, truly her, if she hadn’t lied to me and forced that newspaper into my hand, a fake smile on her face while her too tight voice said everything would be all right.
The knocking ceases eventually, no one’s even sure I’m home, but where else would I be? I’m so scared you’ll finally come back while I’m gone that even going to the bathroom worries me. What if you don’t see me and leave, thinking I’ve given up on you?
I lower my hands and open my eyes slowly. That yellowing newspaper catches my attention. I pick it up, as I do every night, and read that article, eyes skimming the harsh black words. Dead, it says. Five people killed in a bus accident, your name listed among them. But you’re not dead, I know it. You’re just hiding out there somewhere, hiding and waiting to come back once I’ve proven my apologies.
I drop the paper and look out the window, waiting to see your familiar figure come loping down the street, long hair blowing in the breeze, that characteristic scowl printed across your face.
I’ll wait all night tonight, and if I have to I’ll keep waiting, night after night and day after day until my penance is served and you come home to me again.