Editor’s note: J’s writing had me intrigued from the first paragraph in the first post I read, easily pulling me into the time and place of the situation with carefully chosen words and evocative imagery. I quickly learned that I couldn’t be greedy on J’s site, clicking away through the offerings, or the treasure chest would soon be empty. These stories should be savored, singly and slowly, as in the following piece where we run through a gamut of emotions in just a few paragraphs…
Lives stripped bare. Pared back to the beginning.
I stood in the apartment which once laughed out loud, witnessing two, young in years, starting the sojourn of life. It chuckled in the morning, watching us awake, stretch, smile, embrace coyly; it smiled at mid-day, as we sat eating, staring into each other’s eyes across a table; it giggled in the evening as we teased and toyed before leaving, and it sighed late at night as we two lovers fell into welcoming arms.
I watched the apartment blossom as our unborn child grew, how it erupted into exclamation when the gurgling infant came home. As I stayed, caring for the baby, the rooms, now replete, sat back, comfortable in their paper and paint clothing. We adorned walls with fresh colouring, kept floors swept pristine, ceilings spotlessly reflecting the love from below. Sunbeams tracked me and baby as our trails of mirth glided around contented rooms.
Time moves with rhythmic regularity, unlike humans, we spurt and dawdle, ignorant of consequences and butterfly effects, chasing illusive happiness, seeking to catch the concept in hands and stand still for ever. We two drifted from the one. We two lived outside time, inside happiness. We lost touch with the one. He saw the gap appearing, knew not how to leap across or shout for us to jump to him. Missed conversations, avoided opportunities, cancelled dates, the fissure became the chasm of unlove.
I glimpsed the apartment raise an eyebrow as we three too often became two, the third reluctant to tread its floorboards regularly. Eyes were turned to late homecomings, nervous unconvincing replies, private phone calls privately taken. The child cried, and the apartment echoed the woes, as I stared into the never distance, mind filled with apprehensive possibilities. Scratched unrepaired wallpaper, finger-grimed window panes, unswept floors, I saw the apartment begin to itch.
The one left first, soon followed by us two. Sad thought crept into the walls like dampness, harsh words floated up, coating the ceilings, tears soaked into carpet piles.
Now I stand and observe the apartment stood empty; the dark mouth of the fireplace cold, the paper and paint stripped like an accused, the wooden boards carpeted only with dust and despair. I leave, and there are none now.
Locking the door for the last time, I hear the apartment cry.
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