SHORT STORIES: Afterwards

The rain shears itself across the glass, and he lets out a sigh. Wipes a tear from his cheek and looks at it glisten on the side of his palm. Lets the light bounce off it and into him. He watches as she walks away from the building, off into the dark. The rain hits her and it is all he needs to believe she is real, there, for the last time. He lets his mouth crook itself into a half grin.

He steps away from the window and turns to the boxes she left, pulls them open and inhales her fusion mixed with his, debates a wash or a wear, thinks he wants her smell on his body one last time and pulls an old jumper over him, feels it limp from his body and ripped by the years and it scratches his skin but he loves it so. Rifles through the rest of the boxes and throws clothes and games and memories every direction, the naked bulb swaying above him.

Turns to a wall and sees a post-it note she left, some time ago. Reads it one last time and smiles. Thinks the she that wrote it isn’t dead but she left. He looks around for what reminds him of her and piles it all, tucks it away under the bed and hopes if it is away his mind will forget it all. Lets out another sigh as he hears the quiet. No more yells and screams and he thinks how like his mother she was. Looks at the memories he has and starts to decide which to skim and which to emphasise.

All unpacked, he sits for a while and watches the television quietly, realises he can do just that and not one criticism. He thinks maybe he loved the idea of her more than her, in the end. He thinks he likes having a partner more than anything, wonders if he’ll ever be content in his own company. Strips naked after a while and probes himself, pushes and pulls, examines but finds no source of the ailment. Really it wasn’t so bad he thinks but it wasn’t so great either.

He walks around the flat one last time and half laughs, she is gone. And sure it would suck but at least he finally had his stuff back, at least now he was free of her. And he writes some quick pages to vent and meditates a moment and thinks what have I learned here. He thinks, what have I got missing that I took love like that, so violent and conditional and he thinks of his mother and takes the whiskey from the fridge.

Necks some and lets the ice smack across the surface of his glass, gives out a whimper and is crying. He cries a while and cries and feels so good. Orders food in and invites a friend. Showers and scratches himself clean and steps out a new man, butterfly born. Thinks another one bites the dust and realises it isn’t the end, isn’t the drama it had been. Sees a text from his sister and sees some warmth from the fragile glass.

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