Sarah lay on her bed thinking. It had been weeks since she’d had the opportunity to simply sit and think, and she had felt the toll of days and nights spent at work on her distracted soul.
She cast her eyes to the window, yet they were once again drawn to the foreground, the photograph of her and Ian.
‘Ian’, she whispered, and then turned away.
Sighing she rolled onto her stomach and began to sob. Her body began to shake with the effort, what was once a whisper turned into a desperate plea.
‘Ian, Ian, Ian’, her arm shot out and upwards, curled into a small fist and then, as if practised, Sarah brought her fist down upon the overhang of the bed, smashing a glass that had sat precariously close to the edge.
For a moment, she felt the pain. Retracting her hand, now bloodied, Sarah held it close to her body and continued to sob.
Water sluiced from the overhang, discoloured by her blood.
It was only Thursday.
Downstairs, Sarah’s mother had heard the glass smash. She had paused for a moment, unsure of how to react and then continued on reading the newspaper.
‘Don’t you think you should check on her, hon?’
Jessica looked up from the newspaper and criticised her husband openly.
‘Don’t you think you could?’
He shrugged, unsure of whether to pursue the argument.
‘I don’t know…I guess I just thought you’d be more helpful than me’.
Jessica refocused her attention to the newspaper and muttered ‘fuck’ under her breath.
She looked up again and stared intently at her husband.
‘What’, she snapped rhetorically.
‘Nothing’, he sighed and looked out toward the garden.
It was summer.
The evenings were crisp and cool. We sat on the beach and joked about making love in the sand. You said you’d done it before and you wouldn’t again. I laughed self consciously, unsure of how to let you know that I hadn’t done it at all.
You grabbed my hand and led me toward the grass, laughing with your eyes as you drew me down.
You kissed me quickly, then slowly and I felt your arm run the length of my thigh. You whispered my name and kissed my neck. I forgot about the secret that had made me distant and let myself feel what felt right.
I touched your neck, closed my eyes and allowed my mouth to stumble toward yours. At first it was awkward and I knew that you felt it too, but after a while it just felt right and I forgot the things I didn’t know how to do.
I whispered your name. I was desperate to hold you close but throw you off of me at the same time.
I wanted every part of you.
For a while we just lay still and I remember the grass had been wet underneath my warm body. You kissed me quickly, once again and then stood tall.
Looking down at me, you had smiled again. ‘Isn’t it beautiful here’, that’s what you had said. ‘Aren’t you beautiful’. I had smiled even though I had felt like crying.
‘You just don’t realise how beautiful you are’, you had continued. ‘You just don’t know, Sarah, you just don’t know’.
I had laughed awkwardly, once again feeling foolish and insecure. ‘Stop’.
You did, and silently looked toward the sky. I hadn’t known what to say and had simply stared to. The stars were shining brightly and had framed your silhouette.
At that point I had touched your ankles. ‘I mean… you know how I feel about all of this’.
‘I do’, you had said still staring upward. I couldn’t bear to let there be silence and had continued to babble, ‘it’s more complicated than a few words, Ian’.
You never did turn to me and I had felt myself begin to blush, I had stood slowly, and waited for you to react. When you didn’t, I had turned and walked away. Why?
After a while, Sarah unfurled her hand, the blood had stopped flowing and a thin crust had formed on her hand and bed sheets. She opened her eyes and focused on the cold cup of tea her mother had brought earlier in the morning, something she begun to do diligently ever since they had heard the news. Sarah reached slowly for the cup with her damaged hand, and felt a small amount of relief when the pain shot through her fingers and to her brain.
At least I can still feel, she thought bleakly. She sat upright and drank the tea, watching the curdled milk move slowly on the surface. It all seemed so superficial, the tea, her emotions, and the blood on hers and Ian’s bed. Only Ian’s absence felt real, his warmth was no longer tangible. His pyjamas, which lay discarded on the bedroom floor had been there for over a month. At first, Sarah had lain on the floor for the most part of each day and breathed in his smell, she’d held his pillow to her chest and breathed so deeply that her nostrils had become sore and her throat dry.
As the days had worn on, his smell had become less and now she hesitated to open the wardrobe, fearful that his clothes would lose what she so desperately desired.
Five years, five fucking years and all I have left are clothes and things we called ours. Nothing to hold and have it hug me back.
She lifted her body from the bed and opened the top drawer of the bedside table.
A quickly scrawled note lay on top. You know I love you, it stated in Ian’s messy scrawl.
Sarah turned the paper over and read the other side, …so much, she held it close to her chest and heaved a sigh.
‘I love you, I love you’ she crooned. ‘It’s too much, how much I love you, it only hurts now’.
She crawled back onto the bed, and held the note close, careful not to soil the paper with her injured hand.