At first, she seemed fine until I realized she wasn’t breathing properly. My hands detached from her neck and her body slumped to the floor, her head resting on my feet with her lifeless arms placed around my ankles, worshipful to the end. She wasn’t breathing at all now. Trying to think back on our shared time together over the last few months I could not recall one moment; seeing her like this now made all of those memories seem fleeting, unimportant. This was finite, eternal and I felt a profound, heightened sense; a connection with life and death I had never felt before.
I looked around the room; evidence of our shared time together. An unmade bed, a black and white photograph of a day trip to the beach, forced smiles and furtive erotic fumbling behind the rocks and sand dunes. She was quiet that day and I knew a question would come. A challenge of my devotion. How did I truly feel about her? When faced with such inquiry, I would squirm and life in that moment would vanish. Her beauty, the essence that had drawn me to her would evaporate and I would detach, watching her and myself reacting as if watching a film.
That same feeling coursed through me now as I watched my feet slowly move away from her body now. As I do this, I catch myself in the bedroom mirror and my face is blank, unshaven and feckless. My default expression. Her lipstick is on the dresser. Her kiss, how it felt. Have I forgotten it already? I remember how she danced, how her body felt pressed against me, the nape of her neck, scent of her sweat. But her kiss? No trace. Do all of them disappear into one, indistinguishable over time? I need to taste her again, just to remember for a moment.
Before I apply her make up to my lips I catch myself ready to ask her permission to use it but there is no need for that now. She is gone. And I have my freedom. My precious freedom. I wonder why I’m not panicked, look at myself again and start to cry. A shadow across my face now. The doorbell rings and I drop the lipstick. Now my hands shake and I can’t stop them shaking. Where is she now? The bell it goes on, cutting through my tears. I search for her. Her body is gone. I cry but hear nothing. My hands smash the mirror, bloody shards float in the air. I scream and I hear nothing. A shadow pulls me towards the door. I try not to open it but the room it shakes and my hands grip the handle to see what’s on the other side. Before I can turn it, it melts away, the earth is dissolving and I see her face, no trace of a smile. Close my eyes. And there is nothing.