I woke up with an ache in my head. The floor was cluttered with empty cans of beer and cigarette stubs. The dank stink of smoke still clung in the air. I opened a window to let the room breathe. On my bed did lay a body, crumpled, with the sheet rising and falling. Her long black hair spread out into a chaos of waves. Her face and body was covered by the sheet, with her bare limbs poking out. I felt a growing tenderness in my heart. She was very dear.
I set the coffee to brew and put on some light music. The cans clanged as I collected them in a plastic bag and put them in the trash. The toaster made an angry metallic click as the aroma of freshly hot bread filled the room. I applied butter to the toast and sipped some coffee, black. She still lay huddled in the bed. I did not disturb her; didn’t have the heart to.
I was checking my messages when there was a knock at the door. I opened it. My girlfriend was standing outside. She had downcast eyes with a forlorn look. She looked up at me and asked how I was keeping. I said good. She wanted to know why I wasn’t answering her phone calls. I didn’t know how to answer that. I just hadn’t felt like. But then I couldn’t say it, could I. She genuinely cared and I did in turn too. She asked if she could come in. I moved aside to make way.
The room was clean, bright, the bed unoccupied. I looked around to see where she had gone. I could find her nowhere. My girlfriend sat on the bed, looking at my quizzical face. She looked worried. She said, ‘Your mom called. She said you were seeing her again. You know they are hallucinations right. Not real.’ I said that I know. But then, when they happen they do seem real. Is it wrong to see her, feel her presence, even if not real. I did not say any of this. I didn’t want to have her bothered. I sat by her side and said I will eat the medicines. I just wanted some time to feel whole again, with my sister.
She said she understood. She nodded towards the medicine. I went and popped four pills; drowned it with another gulp of coffee. And sat down, beside, on the bed. A little while later there was another knock at the door. I said come in. And my girlfriend entered, looking worried. She wanted to know why I wasn’t taking her calls. Surprised, I turned to the spot on the bed where she was supposed to be sitting. It was empty. I slowly turned again, toward her, still by the doorway, and set out a long painful sigh.