Friday, 28 January 2011

After He'd Gone

After he'd gone, all that was left in the bedsit was:
A half emptied bookcase.
The stain of brown whisky at the bottom of the glass.
Rumpled sheets on his side of the bed.

After he'd gone, she lay on the sofa, coiled cobra-like, listening for the step of his feet returning up the stairwell. The click of his key turning in the lock. But the only sounds were the shuffle of Marjorie-next door making her way to the bathroom; the thunderous descent of Dec from upstairs and his friends heading out to the pub.

After he'd gone, each second that passed expanded longer than the last. The glowing red numbers on the digital clock moved the evening forward in freeze frame. The sodium-glare outside her window shone on a world of revellers, singing  and dancing through the night.

After he'd gone, all that was left in the morning was a rumpled emptiness. The stain of betrayal of their life that never was. All that remained was a half-life. But since that was all she was left with, she uncoiled herself from the couch, and took herself to the shower.

A life half-lived is better than none.

9 comments:

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

So sad. Beautifully written, too.
Some day, though, she'll be over him and will be mooning over somebody else (!)
Nice atmosphere in this one!

John Wiswell said...

I will take have a life than none. I'll even take one afternoon of getting almost nothing done than nothing at all, and over several things one could do.

Steve Green said...

Nicely worded, and very moving. A half-life always has the possibility of becoming whole.

Lou Freshwater said...

Your writing just keeps getting stronger and stronger. This is truly beautiful and I felt every tick of the clock. The loss is palpable.

Gracie said...

Beautiful. Her shock and sadness is a living thing.

She'll be fine. Those half-lives have a way of blossoming into better things.

Excellent writing. :)

Laura Eno said...

You really made time slow down and feel most empty. I'm glad she decided to pick herself back up!

KjM said...

What a wonderful picture of resilience - painful, sorrowful, but enduring resilience.

You make the emptiness palpable in this piece but there's that sliver of light at the end of the story that really lifts it.

Excellently done.

flyingscribbler said...

This is so beautifully written, poetic and full of feeling. The numbers changing on the digital clock works particularly well. I'm very glad to have read this.

Laurita said...

I loved this. You paint a dismal picture - yet there is hope. Well done!