Entering the mausoleum that was once our home I smell you immediately. I’ve only been away for a while and yet your animal scent has grown and blossomed in the rooms like you are still here.
You are not. I know that. I saw the coffin wheel away behind the curtains and the smoke curling from the crematorium chimney. I can feel the hole you have left in the universe.
‘How sad’ they said ‘too young’ and they put their arms around me while I tried to grieve.
It wasn’t easy, the funeral. I wonder if you were watching from wherever you are now. You are not an angel that’s for sure. It was odd, being there amongst your friends, your family, your colleagues, and knowing that I was the only one who really knew you. Knowing what I knew.
Your mum, god, how she cried, while I cried regretful tears.
I spent the hour or so while the vicar droned, thinking about the first few months. That’s why I went back to the beach. It was wonderful. You were wonderful. I was swept off my feet by that smile, that smooth muscular body, that easy charm. Days in the sand and nights in the sheets. No rows. No fights. Just love.
Well, that didn’t last long did it? How could you be so jealous when you were the beauty. You were the one that turned heads, while I skulked alongside you mousey and timorous. Yet, the green monster lived in your flat hard belly. A demon that reared it’s head and slipped it’s chains whenever I was late home from work, or went out alone.
Do you remember the first time? That first slap of the cheek? The red weal it left? The ‘I’m so sorry’s’? The kiss and make up? And I believe you were sorry. Certainly your eyes filled with tears and concern, and you seemed terrified I’d leave. But of course, I didn’t. Couldn’t. Loved you.
It makes me laugh now when I think of that first red weal. I was aghast and tried to cover it with make-up so I wouldn’t have to make up some story of falling against a door handle like I used to when my first boyfriend left love-bites on my neck. I didn’t know that that was nothing. Ha! Just a bit of red on the cheek. Childsplay.
I could soon cover up a black-eye and a split lip with the dexterity of a make-up artist working on a sci-fi film. The broken ribs were different. They didn’t show of course, but I could hardly move after that time you shoved me down the stairs. Still went into work though. Always did. Kept smiling. I still had you after all.
I will never stop regretting what happened that night, but you were so angry. Been drinking again. I’d just stopped in to Tesco on the way home to get some milk and managed to miss the bus. I couldn’t get on the next one. I was only three quarters of an hour or so later than usual, but still you started on me. Accusing me of all sorts – meeting up with other men, being a ‘slag’, oh goodness, all the usual stuff and more. I never got over how you had the body of a god and the mouth of a devil.
So here I am, back at the house. Sitting on the bottom step of the stairs. The one that split your skin open like a berry when your head hit it. You didn’t feel that though. Of course you didn’t. You were too surprised that I fought back.
You shouldn’t have started on me in the kitchen. I was tired and wet, it had been a foul night of rain and high winds, and I was looking forward to a cup of tea and a biscuit before I started cooking for you. I’d bought steak because it was your favourite, and all you could do was question and accuse. Then slap and hit. So I stopped you. Before the punching and kicking started. The frying pan was still on the hob. Still greasy from the night before. You’d been home all day and hadn’t washed up. Typical. It took a few thwacks with it before you fell.
You weren’t supposed to die. I never had. All those beatings and I’d only been out cold once or twice. Yet the first time I fought back, the first time, you had to go and die on me.
Christ I miss you. I miss the making up. I miss your laugh at our favourite TV shows. I miss your out of tune singing in the shower. I miss you beside me when I walk to the park. Your smile. Your touch. But still there’s your scent.
I go to our bedroom and find your clothes still as you left them. Rummaging I find your favourite sweatshirt and hold it to my face. Its’ the one you wore when we played tennis together that time. You hooting with laughter at my complete ineptitude. You telling me how you loved me despite my being a clutz.
Laying down on the bed clutching it’s soft fabric to me, it’s empty arms embrace me with the tenderness you lost, I’ve found you again.
Written as part of the writing 101 challenge