Several weeks ago I moved to my new apartment.
It was the first of September, and it was an unusually hot day. The first thing I did, was to water my new garden. I went out barefooted, straightened out the hose, and opened the water tap. The yellow grass smelled like hay, and the anthills I wetted dissolved under the water jet. Little white eggs were swept away, swimming towards my patio. The soil under my feet still radiated with the heat of the day.
I went back to the deck and took a cigarette and pulled the lighter out of my pocket. The sound the lighter made, seemed alien. I thought of the dry grass and told myself not to torch the place. I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, especially when exhausted on hot evenings… You have a running hose in the other hand, dumbass! Sometimes I told myself, I deserved a huge face palm, an unbelievably gigantic one. What could I do? Should I start slapping myself? I decided to sigh instead and proceed with the watering.
“So stupid”, I told myself with Paul’s voice. Paul’s voice.
That was the only thing left; the only thing he left me with… It remained the only thing that had found its way under my skin. His voice nested in my head, and told me things he used to say to me, used to whisper. It teased me, snorted and laughed at me… I nearly felt his fingertips on my scalp to ruffle my hair. It was very convincing.
I was convincing, I corrected myself instantly.
I was convincing myself, that he liked to be with me. And that he would have stayed with me, that his parents made him go back and marry that woman.
My reflection in the window was clear, and lonely. Above me, the sky turned slowly violett with orange on the western edge. No wind, no stars. Yet, I sighed smoke escaping through my nostrils.
For a moment, I saw stars I seemed to exhale with the smoke. I stared at the window, observing the movements of my own reflection. Nothing unusual. Was I so exhausted, that I was seeing things? Obviously.
How strange… My watch showed 7:30 pm.
I loved evenings. I loved gardens. To be accurate, it was why I took this place. The garden.
I loved Paul.
Between my toes, the yellow grass flossed among the attacking ants. It burned somewhat. The violet faded to a blue-black. It burned under my skin, in my lungs and head. My eyes kept stinging. Smoke got into them. Burning… Stupid…
The smoke corroded its way to my bones, blurring my vision, blackening my skin from the fingertips and nails. My chest felt tied up, so tightly, that I couldn’t breathe. Something moved. Suffocating. It jumped, and spun and jerked deep inside. Felt like crumpling me up from the inside. It kicked. I tried to cough it up. It felt like ants crawling inside of my airways.
Stupid! Why was it so hard to breathe?
The something hammered on my ribcage. Breathe, dumbass! Crushing me from the inside. It banged against my thorax, it threw itself against my lungs. So desperate to get out. Smoke billowed out of my mouth. Ash and a tiny star fell to the ground. It rolled around in the wet yellow grass. An ant crawled in the hollow of my right knee. Above me the sky was black.
No moon. I stood in a puddle and my feet felt like ice. The star still rolled around in little circles like a too big marble. It glowed. Funny. Huh… I let the hose fall down.
Something dripped down, something warm. The tip of my fingers went dark, wet and warm. Nosebleed, huh… I threw my stub into the puddle, it fizzled out.
The little gleaming star in the marble was still there. It looked so natural, as if it always had been there, between drowned ants and brown grass. Stupid…
It was my own voice that echoed in my head. I remembered, I said it to Paul. I… I spat it to his feet.
It was a really cold day last November, and it just started snowing. He stood stiffly by that opened living room window expectantly, or angrily. I couldn’t read his facial expression, maybe I didn’t wanted to. His eyes glowed with… anger, or fear.
“I jump, if you go!” His words slithered across the carpet and the snowflakes.
“If you go now, we’ll meet downstairs. Look at me now, and remember my face, cause in one minute its going to be pulp.”
That November day I passed my last examen. I could call myself a doctor. He hated me for it.
“If you leave me, I’ll jump.”
I hit him. And went.
I slammed the door behind me, as hard as I could, so I wouldn’t hear, if he really did it. Stupid! On floor level I held my breath and peaked around the corner. Nothing on the pavement. It snowed. A car was passing by.
As I looked up the house front, all windows were closed. Stupid.
I told you, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box. I believed a coward.
Between my naked cold feet a glowing marble was lying in a puddle.