It was cold and wet, the sheen from two days of pouring rain still reflecting off the street lamps.It was quiet out, the kind of quiet that only happens after a rain like that, the kind that lets you hear the tapping of residual drops as they fall off the roof and hit the floor. The rain had come down hard outside her window. The landlord said something on the roof had broken and the gutters were messed up, so it just looked like a waterfall gushing out. The water had come in through the wall and the floorboards near the heater had started popping up. The place was a damn mess.

She stood leaning against the balcony looking out, overwhelmed with the kind of loneliness that only comes out at night, latching on to the back of your throat and planting itself in there. She shouldn’t have called, she knew this. But a funny thing happens in that place in between knowing and knowing. A little voice that pops up and says maybe, maybe this time.  There was this aching, almost like an itch. It pestered around in her chest with no other remedy other than that phone call.  There were old roses on the side table, dried in the hope of preservation, although for what she didn’t know, she didn’t have much to say when he sent them.

Back then it was too much he was too needy, she was in control and she could have anyone. She was in control and control leaves you with no one. One Robotic hand dialled numbers and her sorry mouth put words together: “come over”.  She didn’t bother making the bed or putting new sheets, they were past that kind of deception, past the excitement and the joy and the pretending. He had an old key she gave him that one Valentine’s Day, never asking for it back even after all this time. That day, sitting on that shitty old couch with hands behind their backs, coy smiles hiding one key, a toothbrush, and a card that said here take my heart. Because it wasn’t just the metal and the plastic of the things in the box, it was her admitting to herself that she’d rather not ever see him anywhere else.

She still wonders what happened sometimes, sitting on his bed when he told her that the world was this big giant place and she made it seem so small. These words replayed in her head, when she saw him, when she didn’t. She doesn’t know why she calls, she doesn’t know why he bothers.

He comes through the door and everything just seems so fragile. The air heavy with longing and sadness and pity  and yet, there they stand.  Saying hello and trying to be cool, trying to prove something, trying to lose something.

Photo By Noell Oszvald