I thought I was asleep. No, I was asleep, I’m certain. I’m sure I felt your body rise, leave the bed, you padded across the floor in the pitch darkness. I was exhausted from the journey and the icy cold, didn’t want to wake up, so I rolled over, hugged the pillow, tried to stay warm. As I drifted off, I’m certain I heard you singing quietly in the shower then go downstairs, open and close the kitchen door. That door always squeals on its hinges, jams in the frame, I keep meaning to ask you to fix it.
I think you left a note on the pillow, I felt something papery crackle in my hand when I reached out to see if you were there. Was it to say you’re leaving me? See you tonight, let’s go for a meal? Put the bins out? Feed the cat?
The reason I ask is, when I prised open my eyes and turned on my bedside light, there was no note on your pillow or on the floor or anywhere. And you never sing in the shower, you never sing, full stop. And when I looked out of the bedroom window, your car was still there but mine was gone, its tracks heading up the lane in the freshly fallen snow.
And the shower’s broken, something else to fix. When I went downstairs the house was empty, silent. The key was still in the front door deadlock, the back door was bolted on the inside and all the windows were locked shut upstairs and downstairs, you know, it’s how we always have it – I’m so sorry but I can’t …
Now, I’m wide awake drinking coffee. My phone’s on, tell me I’m not going mad, call me.
Roger was born in London but has lived in the North East of England for over 40 years. He retired in 2012 from the NHS after a portfolio career of odd occupations. Now, getting on a bit, he writes bits of flash fiction, short stories and the occasional poem and has had the good fortune to have pieces being published online. About seven years ago, he acquired an allotment, grows fruit and veg and wishes he had done it years ago.