6.7.2013: Journal Prompt

Image from Interiors
Image from Interiors

June 7, 2013: When he left…

8 Replies to “6.7.2013: Journal Prompt”

  1. (This is a sort of anniversary for me… I have been coming here a year today and pinning things up for Patricia and others to read. So, thanks for letting me do this Patricia… your pictures and your words remain fun to respond to.)

    When he left, at first the house seemed strange. Like that shark swimming in a glass case by that British artist and there is only half the fish and everything inside is neat and pink and perfectly preserved, but unsettling too.

    And he left without warning and so the quiet in the house was sudden and loud – deafening, really. I walked from one room to the other and everywhere looked the same as when he was there, but it felt different. Like in puzzle magazines where a picture is produced twice and they look the same but if you look closely there are small changes in one and seeing the differences the pictures are then not the same.

    I took to leaving the tv on in the front room and the volume turned up so that there were voices in the house, voices that were not mine and could be heard whichever room I was in. And I left things lying, the way he had been wont to do: half drunk cups of coffee balanced on the arms of chairs; open newspapers spread across the kitchen table; and unopened mail by the front door, stacked in crooked piles and increasing day by day.

    I slept on his side of the bed some nights so the bed would not lean to my side all the time, and I used his pillows; and I sat in different chairs at the table, like a drawn out game of musical chairs for one and no music playing; and I used different cups rather than keeping to just my favourite. And when I bothered to cook, I made meals that he liked and I was indifferent to – I once laid places for two, napkins and cutlery, and I served up two plates of steak au poivre with green beans and dauphinoise potatoes, and I ate nothing.

    Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I miss him and want him back. I’m glad he is gone. Things had been wrong for too long between us and now they were right. He’d been seeing a woman in his office, ten years his junior and with perky tits and no ass and a name like Kandi or Kookie; and when he came home it was with the smell of her in his hair and under his fingernails. I’d pretended not to notice. Now he was with her properly and I wasn’t unhappy at the arrangement.

    But, being in a large house by myself, that is odd. There are some rooms that I never go into, not for months, and when I do it is like being a stranger in my own house and so I creep like a thief from here to there, and I finger the things I find in these rooms, the vases that seem not to be mine, or the curtains that are never drawn, or books that sit on tables and dust folded into all their pages.

    Then one day I found that I was talking to myself, really talking. Making gestures in the air and my voice full of expression. Talking when I was alone, and not under my breath and not muttering, but clear as if there was another person beside me. And I answered my own questions sometimes and the voice was different then, a little nearer to his voice.

    The mad do not think themselves mad; I’d heard that somewhere, or read it. And there I was talking to myself, and setting the table for two, and washing my hands twice and brushing my teeth twice, and arguing sometimes, with myself, and never giving in so that some days I sulked against what I had said. And I thought then that I must be mad, had to be; but I was in two minds about it remembering what I’d heard or read before about the mad not thinking themselves mad.
    And so I concluded that I was just alone and maybe a little lonely and my wits a little lost… and I do not think that is really mad.

    1. Dear, dear Lindsay, I so appreciate your responses! As you know, I am a huge fan of the writing you do, and that I have a small part in inspiring you to do it give me great joy. Thank you, and happy anniversary (a day late; sorry!)

  2. I really like “my wits a little lost” – softens the usual “I’ve lost my wits!” I’m going to borrow that phrase with your permission Lindsey next time I’m headed that way. I’ve only been reading a couple months, but so enjoy your stories.

  3. Susan, thanks for your good feedback… and of course you may use ‘my wits a little lost’… though I hope you never have to. Glad to have someone else enjoying my stories. Thanks.

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