It is raining.
She smiles at the rain on the window and rolls over to wake him up. She starts as she rolls into emptiness. What a big bed. He doesn’t sleep here anymore. He doesn’t live here, doesn’t sleep next to her, doesn’t make the flat echo. She curls into a ball. The morning doesn’t seem quite so appealing anymore. She flops over to the couch, sighs and grabs the television remote. Saturday morning television. She turns it off.
As she lies on the couch, she wonders what he is doing. Is he asleep? Or eating breakfast? Or maybe, whispers a husky little voice in her mind, maybe he’s still curled up next to….No. She won’t think of that. She mopes into the kitchen. She looks around and can’t see anything to do in here. She isn’t hungry. She hardly eats anymore. She knows that he used to think that she was fat. She’s thinner now. Maybe she should send him a picture message? Maybe not. It’d be quicker to call. She glances at the phone. And looks away. She walks back into the bedroom. She tells herself she’s going back to make the bed, not running away. She is not afraid.
It is her flat, a small flat, but there’s nothing to hide from anymore. She enters her room and sees the cordless phone. She drops onto the bed, sighing. She pulls the covers over her head, curls into a ball again and tries not to think of him. She rolls onto her side, lowers the doona and peeks at the phone. She shuts her eyes quickly.
She should call him. She wants to call him.
She thinks some more. She knows she really shouldn’t call him. He left her; he should be the one to call. A sigh escapes. She pulls the doona over her head again, so she can’t see the phone. She shuts her eyes and tries to sleep.
Her mind drifts.
She remembers other days spent under doonas. Under this doona, in this bed. She was hiding then too. She can never remember what she did to make him so angry. She knows it must have been hard for him to live with her. She was always doing something wrong. She sighs. She wishes, under her breath, that she had tried harder to please him. Maybe if she called him again, if she told him she’d be better? This thought merits another sigh.
She rolls over, firmly putting her back to the phone. She tells herself to ignore him, to think about her family, her friends, anything else. Anything but him. Her friends then. She can see them in her mind. Laughing with her, laughing at her. She hasn’t seen them for so long. He didn’t get along with her friends. She scowls. She was thinking about him again. Why? What about her parents? He never liked them. To be fair, they didn’t like him either. She remembers the fights they’d had when she wanted to go home for Christmas.
She kicks out, then lays flat, her arms and legs stretched out. This morning is bad. She’d managed the last two weeks without moping much. All those memories, all the good days, all the bad days. Her breath escapes slowly. She remembers a lot of bad days.
She feels that she can’t have been as bad as he made out. She’d lived with other people before him. She hadn’t annoyed anyone else so much. She frowns, she’s still thinking of him. She wonders if he ever thinks about her any more. She reaches down to scratch her foot. She should just check, one more time, that he won’t change his mind. How could he not think of her? Maybe he really does miss her; maybe he’s just shy about calling her. Not that he was ever shy about anything. She remembers how people used to tell her she was shy around him. She supposes they just didn’t understand the relationship. The little voice whispers, traitorously, neither did you. Her frown deepens. She tells herself that she’s just being bitter, and that the relationship was just too complex to try to explain. Oh, yes, very complex. More subtle murmurs. You spoke and then he … No. The voice had no idea about it. The voice had no right to sneer at her. The voice had no right to judge. Everyone was always passing judgement about her.
Everyone. Him. The voice.
Well, she’d show the voice. She’d call him up and make the voice see how wrong it was. Oh God, she thinks, she was arguing with a figment of her imagination. She sighs and wriggles the doona down. She reaches for the phone. As she picks it up, something odd happens. Her throat tingles with remembered screams. She drops it.
Shaking her head as if to clear it, she places her hand on its cool plastic again. Her palm aches with not-quite-forgotten blows. She doesn’t understand. She wants to call him. She slowly removes her hand from the phone.
The voice. Could it be that the voice was making her think these things? No. She knows it is just her mind, seeing what she wants to. Or hearing, in this case. She knows the truth. She was worth nothing to him. He was all she had had, all she had lived for. And now he is gone. She knows what she should do. She collects her little friends from their hiding place. She walks into the kitchen, this time completely ignoring the phone. Arriving at the sink, she pours a cool glass of water. She moves the glass to her mouth like a woman drugged. Why had it taken her so long to understand that this is what he had wanted of her? He had begun the task, by hurting her so, and she would finish it. Now.
She would never see it, but hours later, he would stand in the kitchen; looking over the wreck of the woman he had loved. He would explain to the detectives, show them the little glass bottles, give them the doctor’s contact details. He would describe her instability, her insanity, the wounds sustained from her. He would remember how he had loved her, how he had been so afraid of her, how she had refused his offers of help. He would blame himself. He would cry.
But for now, she lies alone, and the rain continues.