After He’d Gone

After he’d gone, all that was left in the bedsit was:
A half emptied bookcase.
The stain of brown whisky at the bottom of the glass.
Rumpled sheets on his side of the bed.

After he’d gone, she lay on the sofa, coiled cobra-like, listening for the step of his feet returning up the stairwell. The click of his key turning in the lock. But the only sounds were the shuffle of Marjorie-next door making her way to the bathroom; the thunderous descent of Dec from upstairs and his friends heading out to the pub.

After he’d gone, each second that passed expanded longer than the last. The glowing red numbers on the digital clock moved the evening forward in freeze frame. The sodium-glare outside her window shone on a world of revellers, singing  and dancing through the night.

After he’d gone, all that was left in the morning was a rumpled emptiness. The stain of betrayal of their life that never was. All that remained was a half-life. But since that was all she was left with, she uncoiled herself from the couch, and took herself to the shower.

A life half-lived is better than none.


9 thoughts on “After He’d Gone

  1. What a wonderful picture of resilience – painful, sorrowful, but enduring resilience.

    You make the emptiness palpable in this piece but there's that sliver of light at the end of the story that really lifts it.

    Excellently done.


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