„It’s alright. You can cry now.“
The elevator’s neon light spilled across my face as I was urging the tears to surface, but no sorrow came. Typical. When I needed composure I got emotional disarray, but when I finally found the time to be unhappy – made it and wrote it down in my planner, the oddest grin appeared on my face. Just great.
I tried to test this new-found indifference with a few crooning songs which get me down on my best day. No luck there, either. After a while I had to face the truth staring at me from behind the mirror. My own face, expressionless save for the mischievous curve of my lower lip.
He was gone, and I was fine. I’d survived.
After years spent in a cocoon of needing-to-touch, wanting-to-be-held and thinking-I-was-settling-for-less, the day he left came like a breeze on a scorching summer day in the city, one of those when you have to walk for miles and miles because the trams are down and no one wants to work in the heat anyway, or drive those hellish vehicles of public transport. When all life seems to teeter on the edge of non-existence, and you’re somewhere in between as well, only breathing in the sour air and breathing out an even fouler gas, wishing the misery would stop. No matter if you die, no matter if you disappear along with the heat and your ashes scatter on the asphalt. When you think it would be less painful to be burnt alive than to continue living. Until it comes – the fresh wind, f**k knows where from but it does, and you’re rejuvenated, vindicated in your insistence of going on. I’d been stewing in the sweat of my childish fantasies, chafing in all places where memory touched memory, burning myself to a goddamned crisp. Until the breeze came, became a wind, became a summer rain, became a tsunami and washed it all away –the heat, the dirt, the sweat, a few random tears and yes, the fantasy.
I stood there, as I often do in the rain, breathing in the humid elevator air hungrily. My life suddenly began coming into focus, as if someone were turning a camera lens around and where once there were blurry shapes, solid lines resurfaced. I could see ahead, even if for only a mile or two, but it was further than I’d seen before, and it was clear.
Tonight’s the kind of night when one could go out and get comfortably inebriated – I thought, and then I did. Sometime between the fourth and sixth rounds, I coughed with all the seriousness of a politician in parliament, stood up and raised a (half-full) glass of wine.
„A toast! For him, wherever he may find himself in the world, and for me not to be there.“
My loyal companion chuckled and awkwardly clinked our glasses together.
When we left the stuffy bar, the winter chill was sobering, a hint of spring in the air. This is going to be a great year, we promised each other.
And then it was.